Story by Andrea Salina Fleming | Fairmont Community Development Partnership
Published by The Fairmont News
With regards to community development, it’s no secret that Fairmont is in a transition phase, at least from a leadership standpoint.
Over the past year, several pivotal community agencies have seen a change in management. The timing couldn’t be more perfect with all the exciting incentives that Fairmont has on the horizon such as Home Rule, the creation of a TIF (Tax Increment Finance) district and a new road bridging the gap between the Gateway Connector and Locust Avenue. Through progressive and creative thinking and an aggressive strategy to rehab or remove blight and improve the housing stock, businesses and families can be easily recruited to live, work and play here in the Friendly City!
The Fairmont Community Development Partnership has traditionally been a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization and community improvement in Fairmont. Upholding tradition is a warm and fuzzy thought, but striving for a better community and a thriving economy requires thinking outside the box. The FCDP plans to continue revitalizing targeted areas of Fairmont. The strategy will shift slightly throughout the process. In order to be successful, The Partnership must be more strategic and intentional with community and economic development planning and implementation. Instead of putting plans on shelves we aspire to put ideas into action.
The FCDP has played a critical role in razing and demolishing blighted structures in specific neighborhoods and injecting safe, affordable housing in its place. Our impact is tangible and our efforts have never tired. Millions of dollars have been invested in the Maple/Ogden/Jackson Addition, Virginia and Gaston Avenue and Traction Square areas of Fairmont. Although we will continue our block by block approach to community invigoration, we seek to diversify the funding sources used to complete these projects.
The Partnership has been a designated Community Home Development Organization for over a decade by the West Virginia Housing Development Fund. This funding is set aside by HUD HOME funds and the designation is held by only seventeen other agencies in the state. While this funding is ideal because it provides an avenue to construct new housing with forgivable loans, it’s not making an impact at a rate needed to meet the local demand for housing. In addition to CHDO funds, The FCDP is now exploring various tax credit programs to continue our efforts in Fairmont. Amongst those are the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Historic Tax Credit and New Market Tax Credit programs. Utilizing these redevelopment tools ensures less risk for the nonprofit and is a viable resource to renovate and occupy historic, vacant buildings for mixed use or to construct new, affordable housing. Fairmont has the right type of building stock to take advantage of these programs. Developers are actively looking at Fairmont as an opportunity for commercial and residential projects.
Futuristically, The FCDP will continue its collaborations with groups like the West Side Action Coalition, the Fairmont Rising team, Main Street Fairmont, The BAD Buildings Team, the City of Fairmont Planning Department and Fairmont Morgantown Housing Authority. Together, we can make Fairmont everything it’s meant to be. The passion and conviction is already here. Honing in on those characteristics will take Fairmont to new heights.
FCDP Executive Director Andrea Salina Fleming can be reached at 304.366.7600 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Original article: http://www.theet.com/fairmontnews/opinion/leadership-changes-compliment-exciting-community-development-projects-for-greater-fairmont/article_0ac6df90-b1ae-574d-80a5-4d1495402ed2.html
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