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Ozarks Tonight: The Fairbanks at Five

[The following is a transcript of the Ozarks Tonight segment that has been lightly edited for our OzarksFirst.com readers.]

BRIAN
We're joined tonight by Amy Blansit, who's the board chair of the Drew Lewis Foundation at The Fairbanks. Got that right. And we're glad to have you here tonight Amy, thanks.

BLANSIT
Thank you. I appreciate you having me.

BRIAN
So, Fairbank's 5th year anniversary. What's the biggest surprise?

BLANSIT
That I haven't given up, and that's a surprise because if you know me, I'm a doer. I want things done yesterday, and so this is to be five years and not be complete. To be five years and still have 15,000 square feet with lead, and asbestos and unusable space is really frustrating for me. 

BRIAN
So the new space, what's going on for folks who are tuning in just now? 

BLANSIT
It's going to be amazing. In the basement, we're going to end up with a laundromat so that families that we work with -- there isn't a laundromat in our community and many of our families can't afford laundry services or even to have a washer and dryer -- so we'll have a laundromat. 

We're going to have Springfield Brew Co. has a bike shop, so we'll be able to expand the bike shop. Life 360 will end up a print shop, so that they'll work with youth who are needing to build, you know, job-related skills. We'll have a coffee shop mixed with MSU Library has been collecting books, cataloging, so we'll have a library on site. We'll have a community room, and then we'll have offices. Springfield Community Gardens will be able to do a market room so that instead of having to go to farmers' markets, they'll be able to sell produce on site. 

So to be just a lot more of what we currently do, but just really expanding to meet the needs of the families we serve in that community. 

BRIAN
Now, are you able to expand the number of families you can serve in the new facility? 

BLANSIT
Yes, absolutely. So right now we have a lot of limitation where we use our office as a co-sharing space, and then it's the board meeting room, and then it's the, you know, if we're doing the family class, it's the classroom. So we are on top of each other right now. We're really looking forward to expanding our service. 

BRIAN
And folks you can help by going on the website. You can buy a brick. Buy a railing. All these different things named after you. 

BLANSIT
So it's a historic building. It was built in 1906, and there is a lot of bricks. We have lots of bricks to sell. But that is the way we've looked at, kind of a buy a brick so that a lot of times we donate money and there's not much reciprocity: I give it but I am not involved directly or I don't get something back. So knowing that you like your name is on a wall and that you help be a part of it. We definitely do that. So as well as a $25 dollar gift for buying a brick all the way up to, you know, we're looking at a capital campaign, so if someone wants to buy a room and name it, you know, we have that opportunity as well. 

BRIAN
Local wonder woman extraordinaire. Thanks for being here Amy.

BLANSIT
Absolutely, thank you. 


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