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
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
TCV: What part does your team play in
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
TCV: What event will "kick-off" the
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
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
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