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Readers’ Views

Fairmont Area Community Center

To the Editor:

We had a great time at the Martin County Fair. Thanks to all of you who stopped by our booth and chatted with us about the Fairmont Area Community Center project. We appreciate all of you who came in support of the Community Center and to those of you who came with questions.

A common question we received was about the Citizens 4 a Strong Fairmont proposal and how this proposal relates to the Community Center project.

First and foremost, the Foundation and the YMCA are interested in collaborating with any individual, business, or community group. We are disappointed that the Citizens 4 a Strong Fairmont has positioned themselves in an oppositional manner vs. working together to improve our community.

Citizens 4 a Strong Fairmont has ideas that are in line with the goals the Foundation and YMCA has, such as social activities for seniors. We have offered to find ways to incorporate their ideas in the Community Center and believe that can be accomplished if we work together.

Citizens 4 a Strong Fairmont have been invited to attend the City-led design and stakeholder meetings. Despite their direct access to correct information, they choose to continue to spread misinformation that confuses the community.

Because of the amount of misinformation that has been communicated to the public, the Foundation feels obligated to correct several points that have been shared by the Citizens 4 a Strong Fairmont:

– A membership to the YMCA will not be free. That is correct. To operate any business, there must be revenue. What makes the YMCA unique is their steadfast commitment to be open to everyone; they will never turn anyone away due to financial circumstances. That is because the YMCA is a nonprofit organization where all dollars are reinvested back into the mission of the YMCA.

– There will be fees for participating in programs. Yes, some programs may have fees. Some programs will be free for members but have a small fee for non-members. But once again, the YMCA is open to all and will never turn anyone away due to an inability to pay.

– The YMCA membership fees help support sustainable operations. The membership costs are the bulk of the operating revenue. The YMCA and the Foundation will operate the YMCA in a manner that does not require ongoing or annual financial assistance from the City. The YMCA has never stated that they will need to rely on the City to cover operational costs. In fact, one of the reasons the Foundation has been established is to ensure sustainable operations of the Community Center without the City’s assistance.

– The Fairmont Area Community Center and the City Advisory Board are currently working on design of the Community Center. What gets built and when will be a collective decision and the proposal will be to build something that we can afford. The Community Center will be designed in a way that would allow for future growth or added amenities. That only makes good businesses sense. Our sincere hope is that the community of Fairmont and the surrounding area begin to see growth. And that the Community Center is so successful, more and more people want to use it. Our goal is to have a thriving community.

– The Foundation would like to remind everyone that City dollars reserved for this project are dollars generated from a local option sales tax, NOT property taxes. This means that anyone that has come into our community and purchased goods or services has helped fund our Community Center. Just like when a Fairmont person travels to another community and spends money, the chances are high they are contributing towards another communities’ local option sales tax dollars and projects.

The Foundation’s goal with the Community Center project is to build unity through community, provide a community amenity for people of all ages, and ultimately recruit and retain people in our community. The Foundation is thrilled to partner with an organization like the YMCA; an organization that stands for healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility; an organization that is dedicated to building and growing our community.

Please reach out to us with any questions. The Foundation can be reached at info@fairmontcommunitycenter.com.

Amy Long,

Fairmont Area Community Center Foundation

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