First citizens forum sets tone for future meetings

By Amanda Crowe acrowe@civitasmedia.com

January 29, 2014

FAIRBORN — Despite the frigid temperatures Monday evening, a crowd of people attended the first monthly Citizens Forum to discuss city topics that are important to them.

A total of 27 people met in the Fairborn High School commons for the hour-and-a-half long, informal session to share ideas and brainstorm about ways to make Fairborn a “city of choice.”

“We were amazed that many people came since it was one degree outside when we started. We expected maybe a half dozen,” said Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick, who promised to hold these forums as part of his campaign. “It was a very good experience and people were very enthusiastic. We wanted this to be their meeting. We will always keep it open so if people have anything they want to discuss they can.”

The main topic of discussion revolved around ways to more efficiently helping the less fortunate in Fairborn. While there are many organizations like the FISH food pantry, local churches and other civic-minded groups within the city that offer services, citizens suggested consolidating information to make it easy to access and to find out which are duplicated services.

“We talked about what can be done to bring back some of the services we lost with the closing of the Community Center,” Kirkpatrick said. “The citizens suggested looking at other communities’ resources and bringing ideas back to Fairborn. A group has decided to get together to tour a place in Dayton and they will report back what they learned at the next forum.”

Other topics included the importance of the Fairborn City Schools to the community and how to help them improve; how to get Wright State University students to work and shop in Fairborn, and how the Adopt-A-Highway program works and how to get involved.

“We discussed how to support business in town, and we all agreed the way to keep businesses in Fairborn is to get Fairborn citizens to shop there,” Kirkpatrick said.

Citizens suggested the possibility of having a community bulletin board downtown where things could be posted on one side with a map on the other to show where different shops are located. The mayor plans to work with the Chamber of Commerce on this project.

The Citizens Forums will be held the fourth Monday of each month at different locations throughout town. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at Maple Heights Baptist Church, 144 West Funderburg Road.