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As Caon City School District Considers Selling Property, the Future of Four Mile Community Center Is Uncertain

A vacant, decaying school building that many people may have forgotten is located on the corner of Steinmeier Avenue and East Main Street.

However, a community centre that has hosted 250 public and private events in the previous five years is right behind it.

Both buildings have a proud history of providing several generations of local residents with services in one manner or another.

The buildings are physically connected even though each one is owned by a different person.

The Four Mile Community Club members worry that they won’t be able to finance the necessary upgrades to physically separate the two facilities since the Canon City School District is exploring possibly selling the site on which the schoolhouse is located.

As of right now, neither the school structure nor the land it sits on is for sale, and no official steps have been done to begin the property’s selling process.

The head of the school board, Robin Reeser, stated, “We as a board have not firmly decided to sell it. We’ll talk more about this when we get together again.

A lifelong FMCC member named Chris Koehn spoke to the Canon City School Board on June 30 and urged the board to put off any decision to sell the property in favour of collaborating with the FMCC, the government, and the local community “to maintain and improve the viability of this valuable and needed community resource.”

The transfer of the property to an organization other than the community centre, he claimed, “would have disastrous effects on the community centre’s ability to continue serving our community.”

The community centre would have extremely limited parking, be required to install additional utilities, and have significantly restricted access.

Reeser claimed that since the school board has not taken any actions, the FMCC committee has more time to consider its choices.

The school board members, according to her, are steadfast advocates of the community in addition to having a fiduciary duty to the school district and taxpayers.

The community club is run entirely by volunteers, and it receives funding from dues and rental money.

The club lacks the money to either recuperate should the facility sell to a conventional buyer or to buy the run-down property from the school system right now, according to Koehn.irs

A small number of accessible, equipped, and reasonably priced meeting spaces are a constraint for Fremont County, he claimed.

For the past 100 years, our community has benefited from this much-needed facility thanks to the historic Four Mile Community Center.

Numerous local families and others in the community have volunteered and still offer their time to keep the facility running smoothly and to support the needs of the neighbourhood.

Non-members can rent the club for $150, which gives them access to the facility around the clock and gives them access to the stage, a sizable seating area, tables, and chairs, as well as a full-sized kitchen.

Joe Kaminski, president of the FMCC board, claimed that no other building in Canon offers rentals at such affordable usage rates as we do.

“No other community halls exist. People need to recognize that we are here and that you can use it. The community benefits from having us.

The schoolhouse was constructed in 1893–1894 and was originally known as the District No. 4 Fruitmere School. Later, in the early 1950s, the regional school districts were merged.

When Fremont County Head Start moved into the Fruitmere/Four Mile School in 1971, it remained there until the building was closed in 1989.

Beginning in 1921, mothers who wanted the best education for their kids joined the PTA of the Fruitmere School District.

A year later, it was decided to expand the PTA to include all citizens living within the confines of Four Mile, and the organization took the name Four Mile Community Club.

The club finally acquired enough funds after 15 years of campaigning to complete and dedicate a real building on September 24, 1937. After a kitchen was installed in 1938, the structure was used for school Christmas parties, activities, and hot lunches.

Although the building was constructed on school property, the school system sold the club a deed to that site in June 1959 for $10.

The FMCC organization and its facilities were created and erected thanks to the camaraderie of the community, and the present board is hopeful that, even 100 years later, that same camaraderie will help keep them alive.

We are a very small club, and there is no way we can even come close on our own, said Doug Koehn, the board treasurer. “The school system has offered to sell us the lot and the building,” he continued.

Grant eligibility is extremely difficult because the club is listed as a 501(c)4 social club with the IRS.

However, Koehn has been in contact with the Fremont County Board of Commissioners to inquire as to whether the club would be eligible for American Rescue Plan Act money to aid in the acquisition of the property.

The district has not offered the board a firm estimate, according to the letter to the commissioners, but has “hinted it might be in the area of $120,000 or $130,000.”

Because of the infrastructure we need to build, Kathy Koehn, a member of the FMCC board, stated, “If we don’t obtain the county funding and acquire it all, basically we’re done.” We lack the necessary finances, therefore that would kill us.

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The club cannot afford to purchase a separate sewer line and sewer tap for the organization.

The board would want to acquire the money to buy the school’s land so that its facilities may stay in place and continue to provide services to the neighbourhood.

According to Chris Koehn, “nearly 500,000 individuals of our community have participated in events at the venue over the past 100 years and have benefited from the Four Mile Community Center.” This treasured item belongs to our community, and it should never be lost.

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