By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian
The Fairmont Community Development Partnership, which is celebrating its 20th year in operation, keeps moving forward and never quits.
Executive director Bob Gribben explained that the original bylaws were approved in 1992. The partnership was formed as a private nonprofit corporation on Sept. 18 of that year, and the first board of directors were named in November. Its first home was 317 Fairmont Ave.
The first executive director was Sam Lewis, who started in 1993 or 1994. Gribben came on board as program manager in 1997, and became executive director in 1999 after Lewis left. Gribben served in that position until 2005, and then Charles Fawcett stepped into the role.
In 2009, Gribben returned to lead the organization again. Four full-time and two part-time staff members now work with him.
Jesse Lawson, who served as the local development coordinator as the FCDP was getting up and running, explained that the partnership was started with an appropriation sponsored by former Congressman Alan B. Mollohan.
Mollohan asked the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., which is now NeighborWorks America, to work with local people in developing the money into a revitalization program, which was initially to be administered by the City of Fairmont through a partnership of various private and public institutions.