Story by Angelee Wiley | Times West Virginian
Part of moving forward comes from working together to make changes.
Fairmont’s goal is always to move forward, but in order to make that happen, the community must come together and work as one.
On Thursday night, the Fairmont Community Development Partnership gathered at Noteworthy Sweets for its annual meeting.
This year was special because the group celebrated its 21st anniversary. The FCDP’s vision is to preserve neighborhoods and revitalize the community.
At the meeting, board members spoke about the achievements of community development partnership as well as future plans that are going to take place. It was also the opportunity to thank some of the board members and supporters for all their hard work.
Bob Gribben, FCDP executive director, is focused on making Fairmont a better place.
“We would like to mostly see a continuation of what we have been doing,” said Gribben. “That’s been acquiring dilapidated properties, tearing them down and then using them as a build site for new, low-income affordable housing, which we construct.”
Gribben said the group usually works on multiple projects at one time. It has acquired commercial-grade property at 517 Fairmont Ave. and will use it as a business incubator and accelerator.
“We’re not only involved in the affordable housing in the kind of demolition work that we do with dilapidated houses. We target ourselves to restricted areas, certain areas, and then we go house by house, block by block,” said Gribben.
Over the past two years, the FCDP has done a lot of work on Virginia Avenue. The group plans to build three new duplexes, and there are currently three duplexes under construction that should be finished by the end of the year.
Gribben is proud of the work that has been done so far.
“Sometimes I think that we have done just an excellent job. Sometimes I think that we’re extremely lucky. Sometimes I feel like we really know what we’re doing. Other times you tend to lose your confidence,” said Gribben.
Judge Michael Aloi also spoke at the meeting and emphasized how important it is to work together as a team.
“Within any organization, my two favorite words are community and partnership,” said Aloi. “What other choice do we have than community?”
Being a nonprofit organization, Gribben said the toughest part is funding. A lot of times they have to rely on federal or state funds. But they hope that changes in the near future.
“As time proceeded, we acquired some properties that we could generate income from ourselves, and when we do that it’s not for profit. It’s put back into the pool of funds we have to continue construction,” said Gribben.
According to Gribben, there are still many areas in Fairmont that need work and buildings that need to be torn down. He said there are no easy answers, but the FCDP motto is quite simple.
“We don’t quit,” said Gribben.
The group will continue to work on Virginia Avenue and do what it can to strive to make Fairmont the best place for residents that it can be.
Original article: http://www.timeswv.com/news/fcdp-focused-on-making-fairmont-better-place/article_ca56b616-6ca6-11e4-b225-c36cf139fae7.html