Community Center moving forward
FAIRMONT– The Fairmont Area Community Center (FACC) Foundation has been very busy behind the scenes bringing the proposed community center closer to a reality. Foundation members John Kasper and Amy Long provided an update on where things are at in the process.
“There’s been a ton of things going on behind the scenes to move this forward. We’re really moving forward full-steam and getting poised to break ground on it in 2024,” Kasper said.
Several months ago, the city of Fairmont handed over responsibility of the community center to the Foundation and since then it’s been working on changing over all of the contracts. As a result of this, Kasper said the Foundation has been overseeing and finalizing the design and will oversee the production.
“Once it was handed over, we went out and re-hired Tegra to help oversee the process,” Kasper said.
Tegra is the owner’s representative on the project and had previously been working with the city before it pulled out of its contract earlier this year. Kasper said the Foundation believes Tegra is the best option to help keep the project on time and on task, and to also protect the community’s best interest.
“We felt it was very important to get them back on board. They’re very excited to be back and have been very engaged full-time with helping us on a bunch of things,” Kasper said.
Together they’ve been finalizing the design of the first phase of the project– the YMCA portion. Kasper said they just finished making revisions to the schematic drawings based on previous input from both the council and the community and are at a point to view the updated schematic drawings with the city council during a joint work session coming up in October.
“I think it will become much more real to the community come October when we’re sharing the design,” said Long.
To put it simply, she said they’re looking at a facility similar to a typical YMCA structure which will include gym space, multi-purpose rooms to be used for programing for both youth and seniors and an aquatics area.
In addition to the design, the Foundation has initiated an RFP (request for proposal) process for the construction manager. While Kraus-Anderson was originally slated to be on this project, Kasper said that the Foundation wanted to make sure it was getting the best value for the community’s investment.
“So we took a pause, stepped back and opened that up to looking at who is the best construction manager,” Kasper said.
He said they recently finished interviews with four different companies and are currently going over the options.
Lastly, but certainly not least, Kasper said the Foundation has continued to pursue various capital resources. It’s been working on securing funds from a new market tax credit.
“We hired an organization out of Minneapolis to help us go after those additional, significant funds which could be anywhere from $4 to $5 million. We’re hoping to get some feedback on how that’s going in October or November but that’s well down the path and doing terrific,” Kasper said.
He further explained that new market tax credit is a national organization for funding for low income communities. The idea behind it is to give funds to communities to help them grow and prosper and to improve community health and well-being.
In addition to the new market tax credit, the Foundation has also been connecting with businesses and others in the community to raise funds and donations to aid with the construction of the project.
“There’s a timeline and we’re working toward that and we’re getting poised to break ground in 2024,” Kasper said.
He acknowledged that there continues to be misinformation circulating in the community and some people who question the project, but as far as the Foundation and the city is concerned, the project is in fact moving forward.