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Foundation enters into agreement with YMCA

FAIRMONT– On Thursday the Fairmont Area Community Center Foundation announced that it had entered into a consulting agreement with the YMCA. The move signifies a big step forward in bringing both programming and a community center to Fairmont.

Amy Long, a trustee board member of the Fairmont Area Community Center Foundation said this is a step to celebrate.

“The Foundation has entered into a formal partnership with the YMCA. This allows the Foundation, along with our city partners, to leverage the expertise of the YMCA and begin to put operating plans together for the future community center,” said Long.

The purpose of the Foundation, which formed in the summer of 2021 and includes Long, John Edman, John Kasper, Fred Krahmer and Karin Rosen, is to oversee the capital fundraising campaign and develop and oversee operating agreements, which is where the YMCA comes.

In June of 2021, the Fairmont City Council chose to honor its commitment from 2019 which was when the council committed $14 million from the Local Options Sales Tax contingent upon private fundraising efforts and the YMCA operating the community center.

Long said the YMCA has actually been involved in the project dating back to the December 2019 resolution.

“Shortly after that they began to have more of a presence in the Fairmont community. Obviously the pandemic was upon us shortly thereafter and the project did stall but the YMCA is back,” she said.

The consulting agreement was signed by the Albert Lea YMCA Board on Thursday. Long said community members may remember Dennis Dieser, former executive director of the Albert Lea YMCA, who was engaged in Fairmont’s project several years ago.

“He has since retired and Bruce Mielke is now CEO over the Albert Lea and Forest City (Iowa) YMCA’s,” Long explained.

However Dieser will remain engaged and will assist with the Fairmont YMCA but now through Mielke Fairmont also has a formal partnership with both the Albert Lea and Forest City YMCA’s.

Long said an exciting aspect to the agreement is that the YMCA will immediately begin on programming, which will be up and running prior to the actual community center being built.

“The actual building, the brick and mortar community center that we’re working so hard on making a reality is really only one piece of the entire project,” Long said.

She said with the consulting agreement, people can soon start to see the positive impact the YMCA will have while progress is made on actually building the community center. She added that the Foundation is excited for the community to learn more about what the YMCA as an organization can do for the community.

Long also spoke about the survey that was put out last week by the Fairmont Community Center Advisory Board which intends to get feedback from the community on what features it would utilize in a community center.

“All input is good and this is yet another opportunity for the community to share their perspective on how it will use the facility,” Long said.

The YMCA will be opening an office in Fairmont on or before April 1. Long said it’s yet to be determined where the office will be.

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