Rev. Dave Hargrave
Bob Poteete, D.C.
During 2001, 26 residents contributed an estimated 900 hours of service envisioning the community they'd like to see Fairfield become by the year 2010. The task was ambitious; the goal of arriving at a consensus was a challenge.
Nevertheless, the group looked ahead and — through seven action teams — developed a realistic vision for Fairfield. In the steering committee's final formal action, it published the 45 recommendations for continued improvement.
The report, entitled "Insight.2010, Creating Fairfield's Future," summarizes the group's vision in each of seven strategic areas:
While the group's visioning was not limited, the budget to undertake the ideas will be, so some recommendations may not be feasible in the eight-year time frame. Yet, the recommendations do set ambitious goals and suggestions for tomorrow.
The Insight 2010 committee presented a progress update at an October 2005 special meeting of Council.
Strategy: Create opportunities to encourage optimal use of existing residential land and redevelopment of existing houses/multi-family units and businesses.
The most significant development to date on vacant residential property is the development of the Morris property on Pleasant Avenue at Resor Road. The development targets higher end single family residences, thereby addressing another need identified by the Insight.2010 process of providing properties to upgrade to a second or third home without relocating outside Fairfield.
The continuing development and redevelopment of the City’s downtown area was also a major concern addressed in the 2010 report. The former Kroger site, left vacant when the new store opened in the Village Green, was acquired by the city and now houses the new Fairfield Justice Center. This enhancement to the downtown area should encourage further redevelopment of the city’s core area as envisioned by the Plan.
Strategy: Develop opportunities that encourage growth of existing businesses and attraction of new businesses that meet the needs of our community and enhance our financial stability.
A key recommendation of the 2010 plan was for a full-time economic development professional to focus on marketing to new businesses and retaining existing businesses. In April 2002 that objective was realized with the hiring of Kimm Coyner as the City’s first Economic Development Manager. With that addition to the City’s staff, several new economic development initiatives were completed. A new quality of life brochure <>, presentation folder, and customizable inserts were printed as well as a new testimonial piece presenting the endorsements of Fairfield’s business climate by many of the chief executive officers of corporations and businesses operating in the City today. Emphasis was also placed on expanding economic development information universally available through the City’s website. Most recently, a CD and DVD based video highlighting the City and its merits has been released for use in attracting new businesses. Greg Kathman, who replaced Coyner as the Economic Development Manager in December, continues this effort.
Strategy: Cooperate with Fairfield City Schools, area corporations, public and private universities and technical schools to secure life-long educational opportunities for all ages.
In response to the educational strategy, City staff has worked with representatives of the Fairfield City Schools, the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, Fairfield Township, and Butler Tech to create an outreach program to identify educational needs of the business community as well as general community needs. In the spring of 2005, the group called Fairfield Partners for Continuous Learning sponsored its first Career Discovery Day providing participants assessments and counseling relative to possible career changes. The day provided information which participants could use in attending job fairs and other recruiting efforts of local businesses and industries.
At the same time the City has continued to emphasize the lifelong educational needs of the Fairfield community. Not the least of those initiatives is the new programming ventures at the Fairfield Community Arts Center targeting all age groups in the community.
Strategy: Explore ways of constantly improving our natural environment, safety of our citizens and visitors, and health care opportunities within our community.
One major initiative in the health and safety arena involves a partnership of the Fairfield Police with Transitional Living Inc. The agency provided mental health training for police officers at roll call sessions, and a caseworker has periodically ridden with police officers as well as being on call when needed. The objective of the program is to provide assistance to persons in need of mental assistance who do not pose a danger to themselves or others.
The Fairfield Municipal Court has also created a program entitled Treatment Alternative Court or TAC, which diverts misdemeanor offenders with untreated mental illness to treatment programs. The success of the program in Fairfield has received national recognition.
Strategy: Develop and maintain a variety of recreational and cultural opportunities that serve our diverse population.
A major initiative supported by the 2010 process was the development of a community/cultural center as proposed in a previous study of recreational needs in the community. The Fairfield Community Arts Center is the culmination of all those efforts. The new center provides venues for various cultural events in the new theatre, rental events in the community rooms, activity space for senior citizens, and various classroom spaces for all ages.
Strategy: Intensify our participation in regional activities that will benefit our community and our region.
Participation in regional activities has been at an all-time high since the 2010 planning efforts. In addition to ongoing collaborative efforts between Fairfield and Hamilton, City officials have been supportive of efforts to expand collaboration with all local governments in Butler County. Various City officials have been active in the Butler County Transportation Improvement District, the Butler County Tourism Council, the Economic Development Association of Butler County, the Cincinnati USA program of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio Kentucky Indiana (OKI) Regional Council of Governments. Recently, City officials have reinstituted joint meetings of the City, Fairfield City Schools, and Fairfield Township to coordinate approaches to common issues.
Strategy: Improve all ways of enhancing access within our community and access within our region.
Major transportation projects involve substantial lead time to implement, but significant discussions have proceeded on projects identified in the 2010 project. After discussions with the various governmental entities involved, the improvement and widening of Bypass 4 has been submitted for a Federal TRAC grant by the Transportation Improvement District. The Transportation Improvement District has also facilitated an east-west corridor study of various routes in northern Fairfield and southern Hamilton. At the same time Fairfield has included in its own Capital Improvement Plans other projects such as intersection improvements at 127 and John Gray Road as well planning for the widening of Seward Road.