By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — The City of Fairborn experienced its share of good news as well as times it had to search for a silver lining during the past year. The Fairborn Daily Herald staff reflected on the most impacting stories of the year, which are highlighted below.
5. City manager resigns
Fairborn City Manager Deborah McDonnell took a job in the fall months as city administrator in Poughkeepsie, New York, after serving the community for the last nine years.
She said at the time that she will miss the people within the community, as well as seeing the innovations taking place at Wright State University and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
“I feel confident about where we are going,” she said before her departure. “We did great stuff in the last nine years.”
Fairborn council members approved a contract between the city and Colin Baenziger and Associates during the Nov. 7 council meeting to complete a national search for a new city manager. Assistant City Manager Pete Bales is currently serving as the interim city manager.
4. Logo change
City administration opted to launch a new brand during the warmer months, including a new logo and motto, despite previous citizen and council push back. The new logo includes five converging lines that form what city officials describe as the wings of a soaring bird, which they said is a nod to the community’s history related to flight and ties to aerospace and defense. The new logo includes a colorful spark which is said to ignite the others to soar higher, just as city officials feel that it ignites its own community’s growth and future, according to a press release from the City of Fairborn.
The former city logo, a circular design featuring trees and a flying plane, is now used in reference to Fairborn’s parks system.
The new logo has since been painted on the water tower visible from I-675 and was printed on the city’s letterhead, documents, emails, business cards and marketing items. As time goes on, the new logo will also find places on new city vehicles, signage and uniforms.
After the water tower tank was painted, the City of Fairborn entered the TNEMAC (a coating company) Tank of the Year competition for an opportunity to be featured in a calendar. The tank in Fairfield Park was submitted for Tank of the Year in 2012, finished in the top 12, and was highlighted as May 2015’s tank in the TNEMAC calendar. The Southwest tank, located in the Home Depot parking lot across from Meijer on Colonel Glenn Highway and visible from I-675, featuring the new brand, was submitted to be recognized in the TNEMAC 2017 calendar.
Jarelle Plummer, 23, and Milton Lambros III, 38, both died in separate homicides. The Fairborn Police Department has narrowed down people of interest and made arrests since the crimes took place. Two individuals associated with Lambros’s death were sentenced for involuntary manslaughter.
The two murders were an increase from 2015, when Andre Winston, 38, of Beavercreek, was stabbed in Fairborn during the summer. The suspect in Winston’s murder was tried and sentenced earlier this year.
2. WSU backs out of hosting first presidential debate
Wright State started 2016 with anticipation of hosting the first presidential debate in September at its Nutter Center. However, the school announced in July that it was opting to release itself of debate-hosting obligations — citing rising costs and security concerns — sending shock and disappointment throughout local communities.
Community leaders maintained a sense of optimism after the news was delivered as debate-themed planning granted them the opportunity to work together. Wright State initially announced in September 2015 that it would serve as the first host site for the election event; months later, the Debate Task Team for Greene County, including local chamber of commerce leaders, as well as Wright State and Greene County city officials, was created. They met at least twice a month to highlight how Greene County could be showcased in the best light possible as the debate was expected to bring 3,000-4,000 media members to the area.
1. Levy passes: Schools to build new
More than 3,000 votes gave Fairborn City Schools the means to construct new intermediate and primary school buildings after the majority of local voters (more than 60 percent) opted to pass Issue 19, a bond levy dedicated to building and maintaining those new schools.
“It’s time to roll up our sleeves and work harder,” FCS Superintendent Mark North said after learning of Issue 19’s passage. “It’s time to fulfill the expectations of voters and do this right.”
District officials will now focus on the next step — the planning process, which is expected to take the next year to complete. Construction of both buildings will take approximately a year and a half to two years for each, focusing on one building at a time, and starting with Fairborn Primary School.
Fairborn City Schools Treasurer Nicole Marshall said they maintained an optimistic attitude about Issue 19’s passage, scheduling a planning meeting to take place Wednesday, Nov. 9, following election day, before the election results were available.
“Thank you,” Marshall said to voters after learning of Issue 19’s passage. “We’re all excited to get started and are looking forward to the future of Fairborn. Everyone is excited and ready to get to work. It will be great for the community. We needed this.”