FAIRBORN — The City of Fairborn and its neighbors experienced a variety of happenings throughout 2019. From a protest to a zoning controversy to new a new ordinance aimed toward local recreation — citizens saw it all.
The Fairborn Daily Herald staff broke down the area’s top-five news happenings throughout 2019 and examined those that just missed the cut.
Protest at Wright State University
The American Association of University Professors-Wright State University Chapter and Wright State University administration were unable to agree upon a new contract terms for faculty members for approximately two years before a strike among some of the university’s professors took place. The strike started and a picket line was formed by the AAUP-Wright State Chapter Jan. 22 after members rejected the Wright State University Board of Trustees unilaterally adopted “last, best offer” in early January. The AAUP-WSU represented 560 of Wright State’s more than 3,000 employees.
It ended Feb. 10 when AAUP-WSU members and Wright State University administration reached an agreement concerning faculty contract terms. Negotiations took place over two lengthy weekend sessions with the assistance of a federal moderator.
School construction moving forward
Fairborn voters passed a bond levy during the November 2016 election that would construct new Fairborn Primary and Fairborn Intermediate Schools. Fairborn Primary School is currently under construction and district officials announced during the summer months that it is slated to open in summer 2020. Upon its completion, Occupants of the current Fairborn Intermediate School will be moved into the current Fairborn Primary School. After the move is complete, the current Fairborn Intermediate School will be demolished and grounds for the new Fairborn Intermediate School will be prepped. Fairborn Intermediate School is estimated to open in summer 2022.
Fairborn City Schools Superintendent Gene Lolli said Fairborn Primary School is currently “on-time and on-budget.”
School district announces new bony levy
Fairborn City Schools hosted a community forum in the fall months to invite citizens to discuss how they would feel about supporting a new bond levy that would construct a new Baker Middle School and Fairborn High School. School officials said they intend to place the new bond levy on the November 2020 ballot that would support such projects.
Additional surveying is expected to take place in the spring months and will involve on-site tours of the facilities, similar to the community forums it would host when considering the bond levy to construct new Fairborn Primary and Fairborn Intermediate Schools.
The board of education approved a resolution in November for an option on a property located on Commerce Center Boulevard that includes more than 86 acres. The property could house the new high school and/or new middle school and/or performing arts/athletic complex. The land is owned by Oberer Construction Managers, LTD. The land is being offered to the district for a reduced price of $3.2 million with the condition of the passage of the levy. The offer will be open until March 1, 2021.
Dovetail Energy, a subsidy of Renergy, Inc. had been operating a facility that changes sewage sludge from municipal wastewater treatment plants, waste from commercial food manufacturers and hog manure from a local hog farm into methane and carbon dioxide during an anaerobic digesting process. The methane gas is then converted into electricity, and the remaining byproduct is applied to local crops that are used to feed livestock.
However, residents have complained about foul odors emanating from the facility, as well as increased truck traffic since operations first began. A zoning appeals process began, an outside zoning inspector was appointed and a cease and desist order was issued. The Ohio EPA was also involved and a public hearing took place over the summer months.
The Bath Township Board of Zoning Appeals will host a public hearing in February 2020 concerning the cease and desist order.
The City of Fairborn implemented a Fairborn Outdoor Refreshment Area over the summer months, allowing citizens to carry alcoholic beverages along certain parameters of Main Street during certain hours of the day while following guidelines. City officials highlighted that the FORA was implemented to encourage foot traffic along downtown Fairborn as well as economic development.
Businesses located in the downtown district may opt in or opt out of allowing individuals to carry beverages inside their stores.
Just missed the cut
The City of Fairborn hosted a number of new events this year that were meant to appeal to all members of the family. At the start of June, it hosted an event called Woofstock which invited furry friends and their owners to downtown Fairborn for family-friendly fun. Fairborn also hosted its first Battle of the Bands event, which decided the entertainers who would take the stage at Wright State University’s inaugural Festival of Flight event.
In other news, Wright State University’s seventh president Dr. Cheryl Shrader announced that she would be retiring on Dec. 31 this year. Wright State University Provost Susan Edwards will take her place as president of the university. Shrader began leading the university on July 1, 2017 after the university conducted a nation-wide search for its next president. Shrader was the first woman to serve as Wright State’s president.
Finally, the November 2019 election resulted in new individuals taking seats on Fairborn City Council. Clint Allen, Kevin Knepp and Tana Stanton began their service to Fairborn City Council at the beginning of December this year. Tim Steininger, Terry Burkert and former Deputy Mayor Marilyn McCauley were either defeated in the election by other candidates or term-limited to serve again.
Bath Township Trustee Steve Ross also experienced an error when he submitted his paperwork to the Greene County Board of Elections to authorize him to run again in the November 2019 election. Kassie Lester was elected to take his place. However, Township Trustee John Martin announced his retirement effective Oct. 31 this year. Ross was appointed to fill his seat for the remainder of the term.