September 27, 2005 > Fremont celebrates '50'
Fremont celebrates '50'
A look to the future
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Fremont's incorporation as a city, Jan. 23, 1956, the Celebrate Fremont committee, a community effort, has formed to coordinate a year-long agenda of activities. The committee's motto, "Creating a legacy for tomorrow by cherishing our past and connecting with our present," will be explored by five teams - Heritage, Creative Engagement, Education, Business and Neighborhood, and Future. These teams will gather information, invite citizen participation and highlight different aspects of the city's development and future growth. The culmination of their efforts will be presented at a massive party, "Celebrate Fremont at the Park." on Sept. 9 and 10, 2006.
The Tri-City Voice is proud to be a media sponsor of this event and will inform our readers of volunteer opportunities and events throughout the year. As an introduction to the teams preparing for the two-day event at Central Park, TCV decided to go "back to the future" and talk with team leader, Bernard (Bernie) Stewart, D.D.S. He and his wife, Nancy, are co-chairs of the Future Team. Dr. Stewart has been a local dentist since January 1970 and currently serves on the Washington Hospital Board of Directors.
TCV: Why are you involved in planning this celebration?
Stewart: I am involved out of an interest in helping my community; to make Fremont a nice place to live. All five of my kids live here, are married and have families here. I plan to live here for the rest of my life and would like our community to be close knit where people enjoy knowing their neighbors and support each other and their community.
TCV: What part does your team play in Celebrate Fremont?
Stewart: The Celebrate Fremont Committee is composed of sub-committees (fundraising, finance, event, gala, marketing and promotion), but the teams are the units to organize the various parts of Celebrate Fremont. This is more than just the Celebrate Fremont in the Park; it is seen as a year-long event that builds to the park event.
TCV: What event will "kick-off" the celebration?
Stewart: On January 20th, there will be a fundraising gala. It has been decided to put up a big tent at Central Park for the gala. The tent will have a hardwood floor and house 700 people. That is designed as the "kick-off" event for the year of celebration.
TCV: What will the "Future Team" do?
Stewart: The idea of the teams is to work on projects that will climax with the park event in September. The focus of the future team is a vision of what Fremont can become. Our function is to be sure that each of the other teams does something toward creating a vision of the future.
A section of the park at the September '06 event will reflect the future and hopefully, each of the teams will have something to contribute. The team leaders meet every month to coordinate our actions. Celebrate Fremont in the Park will be more than a party. This will be an event that will define Fremont and creates a vision of what we will and ought to become.
TCV: Who can participate on your team?
Stewart: A big challenge is to bring people from all walks of life to the process. This is an area we are working on. Many residents of Fremont have been here 10 years or less. We need to educate people about the area and instill a feeling that this is not just a place to work and sleep - it is a community. The change in the area has been remarkable. The idea is to let all segments of our community participate in the future vision of Fremont. I hope to have a group of 15-20 people on the team.
TCV: Will the results of the Future Team research be a detailed blueprint or conceptual?
Stewart: I would hope the majority of citizens to feel they had some say in the result, both in specifics and general planning. I am not a city planner and understand that it can be complex, but I believe through groups, organizations and meetings we, the community can answer questions about what we want our city to look like. Questions and issues can be raised such as how to create a Fremont identity. Specific issues can be addressed such as the creation of a downtown area and what it should look like along with more general issues including affordable housing - how and where to build it.
Celebrate Fremont has had to constantly refocus its efforts on creating something of lasting significance, not just throw a big party. We want people to feel that this is their plan, not something created by outside planners as an academic exercise. This is an opportunity to unite on a vision for the future; to create something new.
For those interested in joining the Future Team or giving input, visit www.celebratefremont.com and look for the Future Team tab or call (510)790-9352. Community outreach meetings are being planned.