Related Links: Insight.2010 Report (PDF)
In order to highlight the progress made toward the goals set forth by the Insight.2010 committee, the City of Fairfield issued a status report outlining the progress made in achieving the vision Fairfield residents outlined.
The report highlights the Insight.2010 strategies and recommendations, while explaining the activities which have been taken or planned in order to achieve the project's goals.
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 identified during the Insight.2010 process is the development of the Morris property on Pleasant Avenue at Resor Road. Pursuing the Insight.2010 recommendations, City staff contracted for a landscape architect to study the property and propose a development scheme. When the property was finally proposed for development, that plan which included a variety of owner-occupied housing styles was reviewed. Ultimately, a decision to develop the property for higher end single family residences was reached. This type development addresses another need identified by the Insight.2010 process by providing properties available to current Fairfield residents who may be seeking to upgrade to a second or third home without relocating outside Fairfield.
The City’s Development Services staff has also identified the City’s existing Planned Unit Development (PUD) ordinance as key to meeting the Insight.2010 objective of providing flexibility for developers to design mixed-use, owner-occupied communities. A handbook for developers was prepared providing examples of clustering to enhance open space as well as different housing styles and neo-traditional neighborhoods. One such project currently under development is the Olde Winton subdivision on Winton north of Nilles Road.
Another recommendation of the 2010 Plan was the rehabilitation of single family homes and an emphasis on property maintenance codes. One result of those recommendations is an annual Home Improvement Expo which the City organized for the third time in 2005. The event has grown each year attracting several thousand attendees who have the opportunity to meet with local architects, building suppliers, and local code officials to discuss and plan for various home improvement projects. On the enforcement side, the City has also added a full-time plans examiner and a part-time zoning inspector to supplement on-going efforts of the City’s full-time zoning inspector and the full-time inspectors overseeing new construction.
The continuing development and redevelopment of the City’s downtown area was also a major concern addressed in the 2010 report. The redevelopment of the Kroger site which had become vacant as a result of the development of the new store in the Village Green was seen as a critical goal for the vitality of the downtown. In order to assure control of the property, City Council acted to acquire the site and demolish the structures to make way for the redevelopment. Subsequently it was determined that the site afforded the City a desirable location for a new building to alleviate the severe overcrowding conditions impacting the Municipal Court and the Police Department in the current Justice Center on Route 4. Plans for the new building were developed which would accommodate a mixed use of the site as recommended by the 2010 report. With the anticipated completion of the new facility mid-2006, this enhancement to the downtown area will hopefully continue to 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 in the economic development phase of the 2010 process was the need for a fulltime economic development professional to focus on marketing to new businesses and retention of 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.
Unfortunately, this past summer Ms. Coyner was appointed Economic Development Director for neighboring Warren County. The City has recruited nationally for a replacement and is currently screening applicants to continue the progress generated under Ms. Coyner’s efforts.
Still the economic development in the City has been moving at full speed—requiring constant support by the City staff.
The City of Fairfield's largest employer, Cincinnati Financial Corporation (CFC), is undertaking a major expansion project that will add an underground parking garage and a third office tower. The entire project is estimated to cost $88 million, and the company estimates 550 new full-time employees will work in the new tower.
Pacific Manufacturing Ohio, a tier one parts supplier for Toyota, is undergoing an expansion project that will add space and employees to their current facility at 8955 Seward Road. The company estimates an additional 250 full-time equivalent positions as part of this project, which will bring total employment to 400 at the facility.
Cornerstone Consolidated Services Group announced a five-year lease of an existing 420,000 sq. ft warehouse building currently owned by Prologis. Cornerstone Brands is a family of leading catalog companies for home, leisure and casual apparel. The company will invest $4,800,000 and add 50 full time positions.
Quality Gold Inc. will add 45,000 square foot to their facility located on Quality Blvd. The building will be stand alone with the ability to expand to 90,000 sq. feet. and will be used to accommodate growth of the companies jewelry and gift distribution business. The project consists of approximately $9,650,000 total investment and will create 30 new full time positions and retain the 115 full time and 56 part time positions currently at the company.
Expansion continues at Jungle Jim's International Market. In addition to new national tenants to that include Fifth/ Third Bank, Starbucks coffee, Maggie Moo's ice cream and a branch office of the U.S. Postal Service, an additional 40,000 square foot retail space directly adjacent to the market is under construction with nine confirmed tenants. In addition to the new retail center, a 25,000 square foot event center will be completed by early 2006 for corporate and charity conventions and fund-raisers.
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.
In addition to making emergency preparedness information available on the City’s website, the City has subscribed to the Code Red emergency notification system. Using web-based technology, the entire community or specific areas which may be impacted by an emergency situation can be notified by telephone of the situation and appropriate responses. The system is capable of generating as many 60,000 calls per hour.
Obviously a major health advancement in the past few years relates to the expansion of Mercy Hospital. The $54.6 million project doubled the size of the hospital building, raised the status of Butler County’s first open heart program and created more than 65 new jobs.
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. Obviously 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.
Another key recreational objective cited by 2010 planners was the expansion of bike trails as well as access to the historical Symmes Cemetery on the hilltop adjacent to Nilles Road. Not only does a paved bike/hike path now connect to the cemetery access but a new bike trail originating at Waterworks Park now connects to the bike path along the Great Miami River in Hamilton which will eventually connect with Middletown and beyond.
The City has also been able to acquire a piece of property from the Martin-Marietta Corporation which will provide protection for various public water supplies in the western portion of Fairfield as well as future recreational access to the Great Miami River.
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 on-going 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, and the Cincinnati USA program of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce as well as 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. In addition the director of the Transportation Improvement District is assembling a task force with adjoining governmental jurisdictions to look at roadway needs like the US 127 widening needs identified in the 2010 report. 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.
One major improvement suggested in the 2010 report was just recently completed. Through the joint efforts of the cities of Fairfield and Hamilton, a new access road into Joyce Park was opened connecting to the intersection of River Road and St. Clair Avenue. Not only does this project afford improved access to the park and its various recreational venues but the realignment and signalization of the intersection improves traffic flow on this busy link between the two communities.