FAIRBORN — Fairborn city leaders are now leaning toward keeping the current logo as an identifier of the community upon hearing the voices of a number of citizens opposing the proposed changes.
However, no official decision has been made at this point.
“What I think a lot of the things people are saying is that the logo we have really does represent us — it’s the trees, parks, affiliation with [Wright-Patterson Air Force Base],” City Manager Deborah McDonnell said at the latest Monday, Feb. 1 council meeting. “What we thought we could do is switch gears a little bit and maintain this current logo — it is a great logo, it represents us as a community, as a family and who we are.”
During a council work session that took place last month in which the three logo options were presented, members were divided on how they felt about the proposed logos. Some opened their arms to the change, while other expressed more resistance. However, members still aimed to reach a consensus.
The newly-created logos will potentially be used as the face of Fairborn’s economic development initiative.
“We would move it to reaching out to the … new people we want to bring in,” McDonnell added. “The bottom line is, I think all of our council members, they’ve talked to me and talked to a few of our committee members, and I think we want to keep this (current) logo as our community logo, but we will look at whether or not we want to use the other one (logo) as our economic development initiative, like with the Fairborn Development Corporation. I think it’s a great win for everyone.”
Citizens opposing the logo change spoke out and expressed their opinions in a variety of ways, such as via Facebook, emailing city leaders, submitting letters to the editor to this newspaper and speaking up during the citizen comments portion of council meetings.
Just before McDonnell announced the direction leaders were leaning in the matter during the latest council meeting, three Fairborn citizens spoke out against the proposed logos.
Council members added that they were in the process of responding to emails.
“Your comments and feedback have certainly been [heard] and that’s exactly how our system is supposed to work,” Fairborn Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick said. “When the citizens speak up, the legislative branch listens to you — and we want you to know that we are listening.”
The current logo faces slight changes along the way, but leaders expressed uncertainty during the meeting regarding the specific embellishments.
“We really do appreciate all of the feedback we’ve gotten,” Kirkpatrick said. “Everybody … has gotten multiple emails … a few in support, most for keeping the [current] logo … We recognize how important this logo is to our community, but we also recognize that we’ve been criticized in the past for not doing a lot for economic development, so we’re looking at the possibility of re-branding the city from an economic development standpoint and using a different logo for that part of the city … The squeaky wheel is getting greased, so we do appreciate you speaking out, but we have to look at all options.”
City leaders expressed gratitude in the feedback they received from citizens and saw it as the silver lining in the matter. Council wishes to continue the conversation, as they feel that it has sparked beneficial talks between leaders and citizens about the future of the community.
“I had a dream come to me and that is that we continue the dialogue that this started,” council member Tim Steininger said. “This has been extremely healthy for us all and an opportunity to share ideas about the future of Fairborn — the fact that we’re talking about it and not fighting each other, no punches out in the street, we’ve actually had a very good conversation started in the community about where we want to go.”
McDonnell recognized that costs for the re-branding initiative was a concern for citizens and clarified that the re-branding would have come in steps, instead of changing each logo at the same time to the new one all at once. But the granite signage found in each of the community’s parks would have maintained the current logo.
“The logo was an idea of pushing forward and we want to go from there, we want to go out and move forward,” Steininger said. “This was the idea behind the initiative — what [the logo] looks like in the end, it may evolve or look slightly different than what we have, but we are all together now, talking in a good way, about where we want to go, where we want to be and it has been a wonderful conversation.”