The concept of creating a Fab Lab in Osceola, with tools and training opportunities geared toward the manufacturing sector, seemed to be a sound solution for meeting work force needs and retention. However, it has not generated the financial support needed for the project.
“Thanks to a small group of visionaries, we were able to raise two-thirds of the dollars needed,” said campaign chair Mark Kravik when presenting fundraising totals to the Mill Pond Learning Foundation Board of Directors last month. But fundraising potential for the remaining one-third doesn’t appear to be in the foreseeable future.
After much discussion, weighing financial facts and timeline requirements of the EDA grant, the MPLF Board of Directors voted unanimously to forego further fundraising efforts for the Fab Lab at this point. President Timm Johnson spoke for the Board stating, “We feel it would not be wise to proceed without having all the necessary funds to complete the project.”
Kravik expressed disappointment in the lack of support, but also understands the day-to-day pressures facing the manufacturing community. “We still fully believe in the Fab Lab concept, but we can’t make it happen without the necessary capital and sustaining support from local businesses.”
Fundraising for the new Discovery Center, which Kravik also spearheads, continues to be strong, thanks most recently to a half million-dollar gift from the Wilberg family.
“There is no question the Discovery Center fills a vital community need, and we’re very pleased with the business use it’s getting.”
The large business conference room with video conferencing capabilities is booked solid, being used for training, workshops, guest speakers and civic meetings. The smaller meeting rooms in the facility are also fully utilized.
The Discovery Center’s diverse, multi-generational offerings add another dimension to an already strong community with an outstanding school system, medical center and recreational offerings.
“We can be very proud of what’s been accomplished in recent years,” said Kravik.