Bringing Back the Bay

 

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The above photos are of the first groups to take the tour of the renovation of the Conference and Visitors Center.

by Bob Thompson
Opening the Way
The Fairfield Bay Conference Center was developed by Fairfield Bay Properties, with a ground breaking in 1977 and opening in the fall of 1978. The economic impact on the area of Van Buren County was immediate and substantial. The new conference center opened the way for all of Arkansas, surrounding states and the world to Fairfield Bay and the Greers Ferry Lake area. It was a time of growth and development that opened the door to the wonderful community we live in today. We need to make this time our time. We are in the process of renewing the long neglected building. After we have the facility back to its former function and beauty we will be ready once again to open the doors to our community, our state and our world. We are excited about what this will mean for the economy of Fairfield Bay and our surrounding area.
What does it mean to our area?
In 2008 our local economy took a devastating hit. Sunset Mountain Candle Company closed, the Boat Factory, in Clinton, was lost in a Tornado and the Pilgrim Pride Chicken processing plant closed. Jobs were lost. Little by little community businesses had to close as people were moving to areas where opportunities for employment existed. The search for new businesses, new manufacturing, new opportunities of all kinds that would start to rebuild our suffering economy and the lives of our communities was the focus of all our leaders. Many times we came close but never quite made it happen. In 2012 the mayor and city council of Fairfield Bay, with the help of county, state and federal officials, received a grant to repair the Fairfield Bay Conference Center and other needed work in Fairfield Bay. The money allotted the conference center restoration was $550,000. We know that Fairfield Bay was historically a destination for conferences and events. People who now know that the conference center at Fairfield Bay is reopening are excited about coming back to the Bay. When we have conferences bringing in 200 people a month, spending two nights, with conference fees and amenity charges, we will generate on average, $1,000,000 annually for the conference center. Our business consultant tells us that you can multiply this number by 4 to indicate the additional income generated for local businesses by shopping, meals, gasoline, activities for the children, site seeing ,etc. We can realistically expect to see our local economy grow by 3.5 to 4.0 million dollars. We know that in the past our conference attendees far exceeded this number. We are excited about the possibilities.
How can we help?
The grant that we received is for the restoration of the conference center. You can help us with the renewing of the furnishings, the materials needed for our meeting rooms and our new Performing Arts Center.Your gift will open the door for exciting growth for all of the Greers Ferry Lake area. With the conference center business returning, as well as the new center for the performing arts offering cultural and entertainment events year round, we will see millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs return to this area.Your gift to the Our Towne Conference and Visitor Center at Fairfield Bay is tax deductible. We will recognize your gift on our Legacy Wall in your name, or a name you request. You will become a part of the Bring-Back-The-Bay Legacy.
Our Commitment Your Opportunity
The Bring Back the Bay fund raising campaign for Our Towne Conference and Visitor Center seeks to raise $150,000. This will provide the funding to complete the interior restoration of the newly renovated building. The grant has given us the needed funding to bring back the once proud Fairfield Bay Conference Center to a new updated facility that will once again make Fairfield Bay a destination point. The center will be housing and supporting the Our Towne Theatre for the Performing Arts, as well as a center for local and area artists to display and offer the sale of their art to the public. The center will also house an art focused retail store that will offer one of a kind hand crafted pieces. With our focus on the performing arts, we will continually be searching for performing artists of all venues and cultural events to bring to the center. We will also be welcoming new visitors to our community and open the door for large and small local gatherings and special events. We appreciate the support the community has already shown by providing the funds used to purchase 125 theater chairs for the Performing Arts Theatre. Thank you. This is a great start!The envisioned Our Towne Conference and Visitor Center is truly an outreach to the community. Plans call for the facility to include the Our Towne Theatre, meeting rooms, banquet facilities, convention area, welcome area, art display and a center for the performing arts.
OUR COMMITMENT IS TO BUILD THE COMMUNITY A FACILITY EQUIPPED TO:•Host banquets for 320 people at round tables, including the catering kitchen facilities.•House 125 people in the Our Towne Theatre, equipped with upholstered chairs with arm rests.•Hold conventions that will make the Fairfield Bay area even more appealing to outside groups interested in bringing business to the Greers Ferry Lake region.•Attract more cultural events, art displays, lectures, concerts, craft shows, conventions and business events to the Fairfield Bay area.•Create a state-of-the-art environment for all of our local events, galas, meetings and gatherings.
Types of Tax Deductable Gifts
A variety of opportunities are available to recognize the generosity of donors. You, your company or someone you wish to honor, can be permanently recognized through one of the opportunities listed. In addition, the names of benefactors will be displayed on a Wall of Legacy located in the Our Towne Conference and Visitor Center, honoring distinguished donors.
Bring-Back-The-BayNaming Opportunities
Our Towne Performing Arts Center plus a Personal Wall of Honor $50,000.
Our Towne Conference and Visitor Center at Fairfield Bay plus a Personal Wall of Honor $300,000
Four Conference Rooms @ $15,000 ea.
Catering Kitchen                     $30,000
Board Room                                $8,000
Entertainment Deck                 $8,000
Community Support Opportunities
Gift of Excellence                  $25,000
Gift of Honor                          $10,000
Gift of Legacy                          $  5,000
Gift of Appreciation               $ 1,000
Gift of Support                              $250
Gift of Thanks                                $100
Make you check payable to the City of Fairfield Bay.
Mail your gift to:City of Fairfield Bay P.O. Box 1400 Fairfield Bay, AR. 72088 or bring your gift to the city offices.

We want to thank all of the folks who took time this week to tour the center. We also want to thank Willa Wells for the historical posters used to show the events that led to the opening of the conference center in 1978. We have openings for our tours, which are held on Wednesday morning and Thursday afternoon. Please call us at 884-4202 to schedule you tour.

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