Co-ops team up to convert community eyesore into community centerpiece

Sun River Electric Cooperative board members and employees present checks to the Fairfield Community Parking lot project. From left to right: Ross Oveson, SREC employee and Fairfield Lions Club; Chris Christensen, SREC employee and Fairfield Lions Club; John Burgmaier, SREC director; Scott Odegard, SREC manager; Roberta Rohrer, SREC secretary/treasurer and Basin Electric director; Brad Bauman, SREC employee and Fairfield Lions Club; Robert Anderson, SRECE employee and Fairfield Lions Club.

Sun River Electric Cooperative directors and employees present checks to the Fairfield Community Hall parking lot project. From left to right: Ross Oveson, SREC employee and Fairfield Lions Club; Chris Christensen, SREC employee and Fairfield Lions Club; John Burgmaier, SREC director; Scott Odegard, SREC manager; Roberta Rohrer, SREC secretary/treasurer and Basin Electric director; Brad Bauman, SREC employee and Fairfield Lions Club; Robert Anderson, SRECE employee and Fairfield Lions Club.

The cooperative principle, concern for community, was never more visible in Fairfield, MT, than with a community parking lot project that brought two co-ops and another community-minded organization together.

The Fairfield Community Hall is a centerpiece of the town and used by many, including the Sun River Electric Cooperative (SREC) for its annual meeting. Neighboring the hall were two vacant lots, home to a dilapidated car wash that was a community eyesore.

Thanks to the foresight of the Fairfield Lions Club, the vacant lots became the town’s shining star project. When the lots were listed, the Fairfield Lions Club voted to purchase the lots and raise money to convert them into a parking lot for the community hall. The project was estimated to cost approximately $70,000, and the Lions Club immediately began raising money through a variety of sources.

Four employees of SREC are members of the local Lions Club. SREC employee Brad Bauman was serving as the club president at the time and pitched the idea of contacting the SREC board for a donation.

SREC recognized the parking lot would be a long-lasting community asset and would be appreciated by the many people who use the community hall. The cooperative donated money.

After securing that funding, another SREC employee and Lions member, Ross Oveson, applied for a matching grant from Basin Electric, one of SREC’s power suppliers through Central Montana Electric Power Cooperative.

Are you a Basin Electric member who would like to sign up for a member matching donation? Go to our Charitable Giving page.

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