Fairfield seeks state help to fund Harbin Park redevelopment projects

Fairfield plans to make progress on two Harbin Park redevelopment projects in 2020 and wants the state to help with the bill.

City officials met with local legislators, including Ohio Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Twp., and Ohio Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, about three capital budget funding requests for park-related projects.

The top project the city would want the state to support is the overlook pavilion and restroom facility, the first phase of the Harbin Park redevelopment.

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City Manager Mark Wendling said the project has the potential to produce revenue for weddings and events. It is estimated to cost $950,000, and the city’s capital budget request is $500,000.

“Generally, the greater your local match, the better chance you have getting funded,” Wendling said.

Mayor Steve Miller said with or without the grant, the city will break ground on the project in 2020. The city is also expected to begin work on the second phase of the redevelopment project, the perimeter loop trail around the park.

This is the city’s second-rated request for capital budget funding. The estimated project cost is roughly $400,000, and the city will ask the state for $200,000.

“The goal is to do it, but obviously, if we can get some funding, some help, that would be good,” Wendling said.

The last of the three requests is for a longer-term project, the Great Miami River Trail extension through Marsh Park, which officials included because “sometimes you have to give (legislators) them options.”

The estimated project cost for the extension from Gamay Lane westbound through Marsh Park to the new roundabout at Gray and River roads is $1.1 million. The city is asking for $550,000.

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“For a while, we would have to connect (the trail) over streets until we can figure out how we get through Waterworks Park over to the Laws property (at 5709 and 5753 River Road) we purchased,” Wendling said.

The city requested $100,000 from the state in the 2018 capital budget request to help $250,000 purchase of the Laws property. However, Fairfield was the only Butler County community to be rejected. It was also the first time the city requested capital budget funds, which prompted the administration to contract Cincinnati-based consultant DSD Advisors.

Wendling said the city “did not have much help at that time,” and DSD will be “leading the charge for us.”

Fairfield Parks and Recreation Director Tiphanie Howard said there have been discussions with MetroParks of Butler County to partner on connecting the bike path from Waterworks Park to Marsh Park.

Miller said “the number one” quality of life amenity residents request are trails.

Carruthers said the city was the first to contact her about capital budget projects, and she has since met with Hamilton officials and will meet with Ross Twp. officials.

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