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City moves on Community Center

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont City Council heard a presentation from the Fairmont Community Center Committee and chose to continue moving forward with the community center.

Fairmont Community Center Committee member Amy Long gave a presentation that included that the overall plan for the Fairmont Community Center, sharing that the best outcome for it would be one in which the Fairmont Youth Hockey Association and the YMCA could co-exist to meet the needs of the community. Also noted was that the plan is the result of countless community volunteer hours and that it aligns with the priorities and goals of the 2040 Fairmont Forward Plan. Those goals are to attract a new work force, increase population, spur new businesses, provide new parks and recreational facilities, create a welcoming and inclusive community, and ensure Fairmont is a great place to live.

The presentation also included the 2019 cost of the community center and where the funding is currently. The total cost as of 2019 to build and create the community center was $29.9 million. The city is contributing $14 million from the Local Option Sales Tax and the community center committee and others are fundraising for $6 million.

The council was then presented with two paths. Path one was that the council would choose to honor the commitment of the community center from December 2019. Those action items include initiating the request for proposals for final dollars, design of building and construction plans, begin establishing agreements for land use and operations with YMCA and FYHA, and begin aggressive fundraising and securing private dollars.

Path two would be for the council to choose to reject the commitment of the community center from December 2019. The consequences presented were that the YMCA would withdraw participation, private donors would withdraw interest in the project, the community center committee would disband and the hockey association would face continual challenges with its current facility and would seek money to update the existing facility or build a new building dedicated to ice.

“This is where we are at today and are asking the council to give direction to begin to operationalize the path forward for this plan,” Long said. “We’re not here today to ask for additional money and we are not certainly asking for a revote that was voted upon already in 2019. We are asking the council to acknowledge the due diligence and the work the committee has done upon request from the council and move that plan forward.”

A motion was made that the city staff could move forward with path one as prepared by the committee. The motion passed after a 3-2 vote, with council members Randy Lubenow, Britney Kawecki and Bruce Peters voting in favor of it, while Michele Miller and Wayne Hasek cast the two ‘no’ votes.

Other city council actions included:

– Approving a new payroll software.

– Discussion of time limits for public comment.

– Discussion of the possible sale of the aquatic park.

The next city council meeting will be held on June 28 at 5:30 p.m.

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