Arkansas Business recently presented the City of Fairfield Bay with a 2014 City of Distinction Quality of Life Award at the Arkansas Municipal League meeting. The City of Distinction program is designed to honor outstanding initiatives in cities across the state. The awards recognize successes of Arkansas cities as demonstrated by financial innovations, resourceful efficiencies, improved public service and overall enhanced public trust and support.
The publication noted Fairfield Bay’s renovated conference center as a reason for the City’s award. The center had previously closed its doors in 2002 and the vacant building suffered a hit when a massive storm hit it in 2011. Following the storm, the private owner turned the building over to the City.
“The outside of the building was water damaged and rotting away,” said Bob Thompson, the director of development for the Conference Center. “The roof had been leaking for years and the inside ceilings had fallen in. The walls were water logged and covered with mold. Animals were in the building.”
Garver provided architectural and engineering design services for the renovation effort and oversaw construction of the revitalized conference center. The project as a whole received more than $570,000 in grant money.
“It’s hard to put into words the pride everyone takes in seeing our city come back to life and the excitement we now have in our city because we have a special place to go every day to view art, meet for coffee and use the free Wi-Fi,” said Thompson.
“It was a corporate entity. Now it is owned by the citizens,” said Mayor Paul Wellenberger. “The Conference Center demonstrates what extraordinary results can happen when ordinary citizens get engaged and involved. I call it the Power of Us.”