City one step closer to state funding for Fairfield Park entrance

By Amanda Crowe acrowe@civitasmedia.com

March 16, 2014

FAIRBORN — The City of Fairborn is one step closer to a $300,000 grant to relocate the Fairfield Park entrance to Broad Street.

State Representative Rick Perales confirmed Monday that the Ohio House of Representatives is moving forward on approval of the legislative grant, and it will head to the Senate for a vote within the next couple weeks.

“I’m pleased to report that is should be out of the House this week, and I have it under good authority that it is expected to get all the way through to the Governor’s hands in the next several weeks,” said Perales. “With the assistance of Senator Chris Widener, I feel confident this is going to happen.”

Perales presented the project to the state legislature as a shovel ready project to promote economic development for Fairborn. The grant will help to shift traffic flow from the east end of the park back into the Broad Street Business District.

“This is something the city has been trying to do for years,” said Fairborn Parks and Recreation Superintendent Alicia Eckhart. “We’re revitalizing that park now this spring, so this is perfect timing. It ties in not only with that revitalization of the park, but also the business corridor. The closure and reroute of SR 444 impeded traffic flow, and this will redirect the thousands of people that come in for tournaments onto Broad Street.”

Fairfield Park hosts more than 40 softball tournaments a year on its five softball fields, two of which are lighted. There are also two baseball fields, four tennis courts, two basketball courts, a playground and restrooms at the park. The current entrance to the roughly 45-acre park is located at 1125 North Central Ave.

Revitalization of the park is expected to continue through 2015 with new fencing, rebuilding of diamonds, siding of storage facility, and other landscaping maintenance. Upon completion of the new entrance, existing roadways and parking areas will also be repaved.

If the grant is awarded, it would cover roughly 50 percent of the estimated $580,000 project with construction expected to begin in 2015. Previous state grants allowed the city to purchase the two empty lots where the new entrance will be located between Jan Miller’s ReMax building and the J.Y. Bamboo restaurant, directly across from the Comfort Inn.

In pursuit of increasing shared services between Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the City of Fairborn, this park entrance will be less than a mile from Gate 1A providing improved accessibility to the city’s recreational resources.

“The base is looking to decrease their field maintenance for recreational play so they can focus on leagues. This increases their access to our sports park and will help increase their participation in our recreational leagues,” Eckhart said.