Story by Andrea Salina Fleming | Fairmont Community Development Partnership
Published by The Fairmont News
The Fairmont Community Development Partnership (FCDP) has high expectations for 2017.
Over the past two years, the Partnership has experienced a wave of changes — from leadership to the direction of our mission and projects and finally our overall approach to community development. Although we have held strong to our revitalization efforts in our target areas of Virginia Avenue and The Maple/Ogden/Jackson Addition area of Fairmont, we have also looked at how our agency can aid in redevelopment for Fairmont and Marion County as a whole. We are actively involved in multiple coalitions including the Westside Action Coalition (WAC) and the 4 Fairmont/Fairmont Rising group and a new tri-county group that has been formed to address regional housing and development issues. Staying engaged with high-caliber community groups like these have helped FCDP develop a framework for revitalization that includes more social capital and community stakeholders with hopes that future development is not just what we want, but what the citizens of Fairmont want as well.
The Partnership is wrapping up six affordable rental units on Virginia Avenue that are now available for rent. This project continues our efforts to replace blighted properties with safe, decent and affordable housing that matches the footprint of the original neighborhood. We have a similar development on tap this year with new construction slated to begin on Virginia Avenue and Abbott Street as soon as this summer. This development will add six additional units to our portfolio.
The Freight House building in downtown Fairmont will be home to a new restaurant in 2017. The Rambling Root will feature locally sourced foods, local craft beers and a fun atmosphere for those looking for a unique dining experience. A spring opening is anticipated!
A new staff person was recently added to the Partnership’s team. Emily Swain, the former Main Street Fairmont director, joined us in October 2016. Ms. Swain is the office manager as well as a project manager. Her knowledge, expertise and passion for Fairmont will add great depth and capacity to the FCDP staff. The Partnership board of directors also elected Tracy Evans, a local realtor, as our new board president at our annual meeting in November 2016.
FCDP was also pleased to unveil a new logo and will be launching a new website this spring. The new site will be user and tenant friendly and be chock full of up-to-date information about available rentals and developments in the area. Our rental application will be available to complete online upon the launch!
With change comes fresh ideas and perspectives. In addition to continuing our mission to provide much-needed affordable housing in the community, the Partnership aims to be a catalyst in tackling the BAD buildings list, which contains over 330 abandoned, vacant and dilapidated structures within Fairmont city limits. FCDP will serve as a mechanism to demolish, deconstruct and hopefully reconstruct future developments in Fairmont. A large portion of blighted buildings in Fairmont tend to be concentrated in specific neighborhoods. FCDP sees that as an opportunity to pave the way for community development that works for everyone.
The Partnership has identified housing needs that go beyond affordable rental. In the future, we will focus efforts toward strategies which develop moderate-income housing. Fairmont can become a place where working professionals from the surrounding counties can live more economically and practically. The multiple community development agencies in the county are working in tandem to identify and fill the housing voids facing Mon and Harrison counties. A regional approach is a key component to North Central West Virginia flourishing with job growth, economic opportunity and the housing to accompany such growth.
We at the Partnership have embraced the mantra that “2017 is our year.” The staff and board of directors remain dedicated and committed to making Fairmont the best place to live, work and play in West Virginia.
Original article: http://www.theet.com/fairmontnews/opinion/fairmont-community-development-partnership-has-high-expectations-for-new-year/article_66f71142-883d-52b3-8115-1f3d4a8285cb.html