Readers’ Views

Improving Fairmont

To the Editor:

It’s exciting when people step up and do something beneficial for our community. Don and Sue Anderson did just that when they recently donated a kayak-launching station.

This will be the second kayak launch — the first was installed last spring at the south end of Amber Lake. With the Anderson’s generosity, another launch will be placed in Gomsrud Park near the kayak rental station. This will enable more people to readily access and enjoy our lakes for years to come.

If you see the Andersons, tell them how much you appreciate their benevolence. On behalf of the Fairmont Lakes Foundation, we would like to thank the Andersons for making Fairmont just a little nicer.

Dan Kehrberg


Things moving too fast

To the Editor:

I firmly believe that the committee and the City Council are moving too rapidly on the proposed community center. Not enough information has been gathered and distributed to the citizens of Fairmont. Too many assumptions have been made. One was that the Fairmont National Guard Armory would be closing. No, it’s not. Another is that an indoor swimming pool will be included. Do you remember when the school’s indoor pool was filled in because it proved to be too much of a financial strain on the school district?

When we were asked to vote on the special half-cent sales tax, I assumed it was going to cover the cost of the building and the operating costs, so I voted “yes,” not realizing that the projected cost of the center (phase one) is estimated at $24.7 million and the annual operating deficit would be over half a million dollars ($530,000). If there is a “phase one” being considered to include a swimming pool, a field house with an indoor track, locker rooms, a fitness center and a banquet hall, what is being planned for “phase two?”

If Fairmont had a junior or four-year college, such a facility would be conceivable and would receive financial help from the state or from benefactors.

Fairmont, with its shrinking population, cannot afford to keep an operating deficit of close to a million dollars annually with both the proposed community center and aquatic park. It would be a strain on senior citizens, many on fixed incomes, and many renters will pay more as the owners will pass on the increased cost of taxes. I am hearing there is a need for child care in Fairmont and that street repair has become a financial strain on the city. Are these are priorities?

A few more thoughts: The community center should not compete with existing businesses (ie. fitness centers, banquet/meeting halls, etc.). If the community center becomes a “sports complex,” then the school district needs to become involved financially, partnering with the city. I read that someone (an “expert”) said the community center will draw a population of 30,000 within a 30-mile radius. If that is true, are there 30,000 people living within a radius of 30 miles? Then the county needs to get involved, thus a partnership between Fairmont, Martin County and Fairmont Area Schools, and institute user fees (especially for non-taxpayers).

Doug Kodet