FAIRBORN — Development was a large focus of Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick’s “State of the City” address in which he discussed the highlights of 2013 and goals for 2014 Monday evening.
In 2013, the City of Fairborn created an Economic Development Department to support local businesses, recruit new businesses and assist with revitalization efforts throughout the city. The department also developed a number of new tools and programs to assist businesses. Some of these tools include a series of free monthly small business training programs and a new interactive website for the Fairborn Development Corporation, formerly known as the Fairborn CIC.
“We’re also working to revitalize Broad Street which includes removing abandoned and or environmentally contaminated properties and opening them up for reinvestment,” Kirkpatrick said. “For many people, that’s how they enter the city. We really want to make Broad Street a welcoming area.”
Kirkpatrick reported that Waterford Landing added 39 new single-family home lots last year, and that the city annexed more than 80 acres off Trebein Road for a future residential subdivision of 185 single-family homes.
“The Community Development Department also focused on eliminating unsafe and abandoned housing within our neighborhoods,” he said. “They demolished 13 structures last year, for a total of 42 to date, which stabilizes neighborhoods and improves the overall quality of life.”
According to the mayor, conservative spending in 2013 countered the effect of reductions in local government funds, estate tax elimination and personal property tax reimbursements. Council adopted a new General Fund Reserve Policy increasing the amount from 12.5 percent to 17. The General Fund did have an operating surplus at the end of 2013.
“I will say I think the City of Fairborn is in excellent condition. Now we do have to be cautious of the future need for existing service levies as they expire if we’re going to preserve the current level of services,” said Kirkpatrick. “We need to continue to maintain reserves greater than our target fund balance and we need to continue to monitor balances on a 5-year basis, which we do annually.”
In the area of public safety, the police and fire departments transitioned to the Ohio Multi-Agency Radio Communications System in late 2013 in collaboration with Greene County. A new communications tower was built at the Fairborn Government Center to replace the outdated tower previously located on top of the building.
“The radio for any safety service worker is truly the first line of defense to communicate their needs in any given situation,” said Kirkpatrick. “The crystal clear audio quality reduces the need to repeat an urgent message, resulting in faster response time once the message is received.”
The Fairborn Police Department purchased an Omnivore video capture system which allows for raw video from businesses and private video recording systems to be captured and enhanced for better identification. The department also utilized levy funding for additional manpower that allowed increased enforcement in high crime areas, reducing both violent and property crimes by 6.8 percent each.
The Fairborn Fire Department reopened Fire Station No. 2 full-time with two firefighter/paramedics on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Last year, transport to Soin Medical Center reduced transport time by nearly 65 percent for all medic runs which in turn returns the crews to the city in a shorter amount of time.
The city completed two major road improvement projects in 2013, including the Dayton-Yellow Springs Road Phase II Improvement and Central Avenue Signal Interconnect project.
In the newly combined Water and Sewer Division, 2013 saw the completion of the new Kauffman Sewer Lift Station, which replaced two aged stations and increased pumping capacity by more than 25 percent. The installation of the Rona Village Water Booster was completed, which increased water pressure. The division also completed a full system leak detection program.
“That resulted in finding and eliminating an estimated 800,000 gallons of lost water per day in the translation system, which is a huge improvement,” Kirkpatrick said.
Parks and Recreation
The Parks and Recreation Division hired a year-round recreation coordinator to develop new programming. Participation in programs increased from 25 in 2012 to more than 600 in 2013. The first Fairborn Jazz Festival was held in August where more than 500 people enjoyed live music throughout the day at Central Park. Shade, seating and tables were also added to the Splash Ground at Central Park.
In closing, the mayor discussed how citizens of Fairborn can get more involved. One way is to attend the Citizens Forums the fourth Monday of each month.
“That’s the meeting to come to if you just want to make some suggestions about how we can make the City of Fairborn a better city,” Kirkpatrick said. “The staff, the council, but most importantly, the citizens can come together to make our City of Fairborn the city of choice.”