Top stories of 2020: Fairfield township, city saw development, unexpected resignation, expansion

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Fairfield township and city worked to improve the community in 2020, including new construction projects and economic development.

Here are some of the communities’ top stories from 2020:

Ambrose develops Fairfield Commerce Park

Indianapolis-based developer Ambrose Property Group is redeveloping the former Liberty Mutual campus into a 137-acre e-commerce and light industrial business park.

Two buildings are nearing completion, and as many as three more could be constructed to make up the Fairfield Commerce Park on Seward Road and bring in as many as 600 to 1,000 new jobs to the city of Fairfield. They will keep the existing building, which Liberty Mutual will occupy until its lease expires in 2021.

Liberty Mutual sold its property at 9450 Seward Road and the adjacent vacant land for more than $17 million in two transactions.

Fairfield city manager resigns

Former City Manager Mark Wendling resigned in mid-December after nearly 10 years with the city. He was named city manager in April 2015.

Wendling’s resignation was unexpected, but he was asked on Dec. 9 to sign a separation agreement and release by the end of 2020. He signed the documents on Dec. 11.

Wendling didn’t say what led to his sudden resignation, other than saying it’s “been brewing for a while” and “it’s just the right time.”

Fire Chief Don Bennett was named acting city manager until a replacement is hired.

Fairfield Twp. expands 2 departments

Fairfield Twp. is nearing the completion of its new service building on Gilmore Road and the remodel of its police station on Vonnie Vail Court.

Trustees in May approved a trio of resolutions that took out $5.5 million in bonds to pay for the two projects, as well as the widening of Gilmore Road from the roundabout to the Ohio 129 overpass.

The township’s bond counsel with Frost Brown Todd said combining the bonds into one would reduce administrative costs, and payments would be made twice a year.

The service station would cost about $2.5 million and the police department expansion/remodeling would cost about $1.5 million.

Veterans Park fundraising begins

It took years of planning for a veterans memorial in Fairfield Twp., but now it’s ready to begin construction this spring.

The Fairfield Twp. Veterans Memorial Committee and township officials held a groundbreaking ceremony in October for the memorial to be constructed at Heroes Park behind the Fairfield Twp. Fire Department headquarters.

Work on the memorial’s design began five years ago, Valerius said, by a group of interested citizens who are mostly veterans of the Vietnam War era.

The memorial committee is in the midst of a fundraising campaign where they need to raise $275,000 by the community, which doesn’t include the $50,000 donated by the township trustees.

Donations can be made to the Fairfield Township Veterans Memorial Fund at the Fairfield Community Foundation.

Fairfield Twp. works to improve community relations

The township and community held a community conversation over the summer to focus on how to improve the relationship between the community and police department.

Dozens attended the Strategies For Youth community conversation hosted by the Fairfield Twp. Police Department and organized by the department and township residents Shelia Simmons and Denise Hayes, two mothers of teenagers.

It started as a conversation with the chief about having a community dialogue.

Conversations like the one in Fairfield Twp. had been happening around the country in the wake of protests following the death of George Floyd of Minneapolis, who died on May 25 while in police custody.

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