Fairfield wants to make this location a regional attraction. Now it’s asking for state funds to help.

The City of Fairfield is asking the state for $100,000 to help it acquire a five-acre parcel next to Marsh Park that the city plans to develop into a regional attraction.

The city has leased Marsh Park Fishing Lake from the aggregate mining company Martin Marietta since the late 1970s, and last year the company deeded over the remainder of its property adjacent to the park to the city. The city plans to expand the 30-acre Marsh Park into a 170-acre site along River Road on the city's west side. Sixty acres of the property will be water in the form of three large lakes.

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Part of that plan is to extend the Great Miami River Trail through Marsh Park from Waterworks Park to the southern corporation limits of the city.

“We want to connect the Great Miami River Trail through Marsh Park and ultimately back to River Road to the southern corporation limit,” said Fairfield City Engineer Ben Mann. “The acquisition of some property adjacent to Marsh Park will be helpful in routing it that way, the way we’d like to take it.”

Millions of tax dollars will be invested in Ohio projects, and Butler County local governments and organizations have collectively requested nearly $41.1 million in the state’s capital budget, which is projected to be around $2 billion. Two years ago, the budget was $2.6 billion.

Ultimately, the regional plan is to have the Great Miami River Trail extend to the Ohio River. On the northern end, the trail starts in Piqua, but there are gaps in the pathway in Franklin, Middletown and Fairfield.

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City leaders say they are exploring additional funding options for the $250,000 purchase, including various grants and local funding opportunities.

“This opportunity will be lost if this property were to be developed commercially or residentially by the land owner,” according to the city’s application request. “The project will expand the recreational opportunities for the region as the Great Miami River Trail is expanded.”

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