City of Fairmont, YMCA plan to study options

The city of Fairmont and the YMCA of Albert Lea and Worthington this week entered into an important agreement. The two entities will assess if it is possible to financially meet the programming needs of both and provide adequate cash flow to operate, staff and maintain a community center in Fairmont.

This is probably the best and most exciting news about a potential community center in the past several years.

Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the ‘Y’ but it’s involvement is promising. At the very least, the study will answer important questions, giving decision-makers and the community a better understanding of where to go next.

The process is expected to take 120 days, which means there is no rush to build a community center, which is a controversial topic locally. The time and due diligence are essential, we believe, to assisting any movement toward consensus on a community center. At the moment, this is clearly lacking.

While we have questions and concerns about a community center, our critique has been aimed at those “absolutely yes” supporters who seem to want to ignore the financial responsibility the city has to its taxpayers. But we also have to disagree with the “absolutely no” council member who this week voted against the joint study with the YMCA. This makes no sense either. What the city needs are good numbers to make a good decision.

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