FAIRBORN — The coronavirus, racial equity, and the growth of local homes and businesses were among the topics broached by Mayor Paul Keller in his address to the city on March 1.
Keller’s comments ran the breadth and depth of the city’s operations, addressing the scope of the challenges faced from the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Keller also noted that Fairborn is planning projects for 2021 that will improve the infrastructure and economic growth of the city.
“When I think about 2020, this community, and our city staff, the word that comes to mind is resilience,” Keller said. “Fairborn, we have resilience. Fairborn is a great community, because of the efforts of our city staff and the many services we provide, but also because we have citizens who care about our community, and they want Fairborn to succeed.”
Fairborn has more than 50 volunteers on boards and committees who continued to operate remotely and in what capacity they could in the new environment.
Keller acknowledged the passage of the income tax levy in 2020, supporting the police and fire departments.
“Thank you, Fairborn, for your continued support of them,” he said.
In 2020, the police department received a COP grant to hire two police officers to work on a Neighborhood Enhancement Team (NET). NET works on drug problems, and collaborates with local business and apartment complexes to address quality of life issues, Keller said.
Police also completed training from the Ohio Collaborative Board in deescalation, bias-free policing, community engagement and use of force.
The city did see growth in 2020, particularly in housing developments, with 73 new units added in developments across the city. The city also issued 287 commercial permits for construction, improvements, and demolitions. The city also saw the completion of Fairborn Primary School, addition of wayfinding signs, and the opening of several new businesses downtown.
Among the primary focuses for 2021 include road works, including the completion of the Maple Avenue improvement project. Other road improvement projects are in the works.
“We recognize some of the roads are still not the easiest to travel,” Keller said. “These projects will make moving around Fairborn much smoother.
The city is also rolling out a façade improvement program to improve the building fronts of downtown businesses. Some companies have already expressed interest in the project.
“There are always obstacles and challenges to overcome,” Keller said. “However, I am confident we will be a stronger community because we have worked to solve the issues collectively and creatively. Fairborn is more attractive than ever to be the place to work, live, play and go to school. We truly are a city in motion.”
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.