TOBACCO CESSATION DISCUSSION … The Fayette CDC meeting held on January 3, 2022 was the scene of a discussion of what priorities the community needs to have in order to help stop the use of tobacco and vaping. Seen from left to right are members Eric Yurchokfrodl, Fayette Police Sergeant Bill McConnell, and Officer Christian Renner, Beth Thomas (Fulton County Health Department Director of Community Education and Engagement) guiding the discussion, member Rich Miller, Treasurer Kathy Miller and President Karen King. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
Fayette, Ohio is a small town in the northwest corner of Fulton County, with a population of a little over 1,200. For some reason over the years, the village has not grown as those who love it would like to see, so groups have been formed that might help that growth to happen.
Some great results have occurred due to the efforts of caring people, including the restoration and re-opening of the Fayette Opera House.
Another great event, more recently, was the awarding of a 10 million dollar grant to the village by the State of Ohio to overhaul and rebuild the entire underground water lines.
Just these two improvements alone show what can happen when people set their minds to it and determine to work together for the betterment of their community. In Fayette, there are a number of different groups, all stepping up to do what they can do.
One of those groups is the Community Development Corporation of Fayette which was initially the Fayette Chamber of Commerce, led by Tom Spiess. On September 21, 2016 they reincorporated as the Fayette Community Development Corporation (CDC).
At the time that Spiess passed away, Karen King was treasurer of the group and was voted in to be the new President in 2018. Many of the older members stepped down as they had put in years of loving and caring for the village of Fayette, and were ready to let some others have a turn.
The CDC motto is “Growing a Stronger Community Together”. Just before Covid hit in 2020, King had met with Roberta Streiffert, a representative of RCAP (Great Lakes Rural Community Assistance Program) and Genna Biddix, the Fayette Village Administrator, and they were just beginning to work together. “Covid just shut everything down,” King said sadly.
The CDC was excited about their own plans to spruce up the town, get the store fronts looking better, and get the run-down houses looking nicer. “We were working on plans to make Fayette a quaint, inviting little town,” she said.
One of the committees of the CDC is called Fayette Forward and was started during COVID. They are trying to come up with ideas of things Fayette can do to help itself, such as public and community events.
In July 2021, the CDC began to meet again. King had heard about the possibility of a grant which would be given to the group if they would hold Tobacco Cessation meetings, led by the Fulton County Health Department.
The group agreed to hold the meetings and began soon after in August 2021, following the signing of a contract with Fulton County Health Department. The requirements include 11 meetings which need to be all done by June 2022.
On January 3, 2022 they met for their seventh meeting with Beth Thomas, who has been leading the program and doing the training. She is the Director of Community Education and Engagement for the FCHD. “Her heart is in it and she does a great job,” King said.
Concerning the grant itself, it is for $8000 and is being given to the group on a quarterly basis. In the treasurer’s report at the Jan. 3 meeting the group was happy to hear they had received their first portion of the money, in the amount of $2400.
There are no stipulations as to how the money is spent by the group receiving it. The CDC will hold a meeting of the officers to determine where this money will get the most benefit for the community.
As a group the CDC has already been awarding Christmas Light Winners, Best Curb Appeal Homeowners and Most Improved Home for the year. Winners are given gift certificates to local businesses. As there are not many businesses to choose from, they are hoping that in the coming years more businesses will open in Fayette.
Following their January 3rd evening’s training and time spent working together to determine how to bring about more tobacco cessation in Fayette, the CDC Business meeting was held.
It was announced that the three winners of the Christmas Lights were John and Mary Colegrove, Les and Vicki Kirkland and Dalton and Erica Sterling. It was determined to discuss at a later date whether to keep awarding three homes or move it to two in the future.
A group called “Envision Fayette” led by Biddix and Streiffert, are holding a meeting to do a “visioning workshop” on January 18, 2022, at The Stable. Flyers have been put up around town to invite everyone.
The goal of the meeting is to “develop a plan to Make goals we all can share; Enhance our sense of community; Develop a vision that spans leadership changes; and Create a road map for the future.”
There will be refreshments available. King encouraged the members of CDC to attend. It is part of the Entrepreneurial Communities Initiative through the RCAP program, funded through USDA to create community opportunities.
A meeting of Fayette Forward committee will be scheduled for an upcoming Monday. The next CDC meeting will be held on January 28, 2022 with the Tobacco Cessation session first, followed by the Annual Organization meeting.
King might also give a State of the CDC address. The group will plan some goals for the year, elect officials and collect dues.
Anita Van Zile, one of the CDC members, former council member and mayor, who was present spoke encouragingly about the village saying, “The lifeblood of Fayette is still pumping. We all believe in this place and are not throwing in the towel.”
With no further business, the first meeting of 2022 was adjourned.
Rebecca can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org