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Fairmont Creamery to enhance downtown revitalization

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LAWTON, Okla._ A historic building here is officially off the demolition list tonight for the first time in five years, clearing the way for an exciting new future.

Many people call The Fairmont Creamery a landmark in Lawton.

"I'd never change the name; I don't even want to fix the sign, because it kind of tells the history of the building," says Rutherford.

Built in 1923, The Fairmont Creamery was home to a bustling factory for decades, but it fell into disrepair. Graffiti is still on some of the walls, but a big change is coming.

"We're looking for a miniature Bricktown, if you will, maybe bigger than that," says Rutherford.

He bought the property back in 2010 when it was just weeks away from being demolished.

"According to Neighborhood Services, they said people were going to be murdered here," says Rutherford of the former dilapidated condition.

Now, four years later, he proudly holds the certificate deeming the property safe once again.

"This is my diploma for four years of the most laborious activity anybody could ever do," he says.

The Fairmont Experience is the corporation that was recently established and Vice President Joe Tilton says they're on the verge of helping to make Lawton a destination city.

"We're next to the Second Street project; we're one block from the mall; we're three blocks from I-44; we have all these hotels…," says Tilton of the location.

The plans as of now call for a small coffee shop, retail space and an outdoor concert venue. A performance stage is currently under construction.

"A place for the people of Lawton to come to be entertained," is Rutherford's mission for the project.

He has pumped in more than $600,000 and countless hours of work into the 56,000 square foot building, but says the finished project will make all his hard work worthwhile.

"It's a life work completed," says Rutherford. "When my story is all over and the book's gone, this is what's going to be left, what we accomplished here at The Fairmont Creamery."

They plan to kick things off with an open invitation to the public on May 3, a music concert Memorial Day weekend and the coffee shop is scheduled to open by fall. 

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