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Foundation makes financial gains

FAIRMONT– The Fairmont Area Community Center Foundation continues to work on raising money for the proposed community center. To date, the Foundation has raised nearly $5 million towards the construction and operations of a community center.

The Foundation was established in Sept. 2021 following an announcement that the Rosen Family, Krahmer family and Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont were partnering together to pledge $4.5 million in funding.

Since then, the Foundation has raised an additional $400,000 for the project and has to date raised 75 percent on their initial goal by securing a total of $4.9 million in pledges and one time cash donations.

Amy Long, a member of the Foundation, said that they’ve been doing a lot of fundraising behind the scenes because they recognize that there are still a number of unknowns at this time regarding the project.

“The Foundation is just one of the partners in this entire Fairmont Area Community Center project. It’s obviously reliant on the city’s final plans for design and construction and getting us to that final dollar amount for what’s going to be built,” Long said.

She said with that in mind, the Foundation has been focusing on its partnership with the YMCA, which it secured in March. They’re also working with the city and the Community Center Advisory Board to come up with building plans.

“That’s taken up quite a bit of time. It’s not that we haven’t been fundraising, it’s just been a little more quiet because of some of those key things that need to occur,” Long said.

The Community Center Advisory Board is tasked with making recommendations to the city council regarding the planning, construction and funding.

While the construction plans and budget are still being finalized, the Foundation has set the project budget at $20 million with the city contributing $14 million, from the local option sales tax which was passed in 2017, and the Foundation privately raising $6 million toward construction.

In addition, the Foundation has also targeted an incremental $500,000 for a Founders Fund, which makes the total fundraising goal $6.5 million.

“That’s specific for start-up operational costs. That’s a tactic to ensure long-term sustainability of the operations,” Long explained.

There is no timeline for when they want to have the funds raised. Long said they’d like to have all the money raised by the time construction starts but that’s still unknown. However, she said they’re working with financial institutions that work with community projects like this that are able to provide a loan or cash that’s required for construction when the time comes so that they can continue to fundraise.

“But the Foundation is very confident that we’ll be able to meet that initial goal that we have of $6.5 million in short order,” Long said.

Moving forward, the Foundation plans to have a representative or two available for any opportunity they have to sit down with the Community Center Advisory Board, city and YMCA.

As for public engagement, the Marketing and Communications Committee, a committee of the Foundation, has been present at different community events. Long said they plan to have a booth with information at the Martin County Fair.

“Right now I feel like we have good momentum with the contracts in place with the city and the architects, owner’s rep and the construction manager. Everyone is on board now, under contract, working toward this community center project,” Long said.

She said they encourage people to reach out and ask questions about the project, but also about giving. She said they’re looking for other community members, leaders and businesses to join the effort with the Foundation.

“This is exciting. We need to start celebrating the progress and the possibility of what’s to come,” Long said.

For more information on the project or to make a pledge or donation, visit fairmontcommunitycenter.com.

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