Saturday, September 29, 2001

Fenwick decision due soon




By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP — Warren County commissioners are expected to decide Oct. 9 whether a site for the new Bishop Fenwick High School will be annexed to Middletown, allowing the school and city to continue a 50-year relationship.

        Nearby residents say they prefer the land to remain under county jurisdiction.

        The 97-acre site is east of Interstate 75, along Ohio 122. Fifth Duet, a corporation owned by Fenwick alumni Bill Akers and his wife Debbie, owns the property. Columbus attorney Richard Brahm, who is representing the Akers, said the owners have reviewed what services Middletown and Franklin Township and Warren County can provide.

        “They still desire to be in Middletown,” Mr. Brahm said.

        The Akers have offered to donate whatever part of the site is needed for the high school. Its final design and development of athletic facilities will determine how many acres will be donated.

        Right now, the estimate is 66-67 acres, Mr. Brahm said. Until there are drawings for the school,no plans can be made for the rest of the site, Mr. Brahm said.

        Thursday, commissioners concluded a public hearing on the matter that began Sept. 6. About 60 people attended, with many residents of the county's Hunter area supportive of the new high school but against annexation.

        Fenwick Principal Rev. Charles Mentrup said school officials have built a good working relationship with Middletown in the five decades the school has been in existence.

        "We want to continue that relationship,” Father Mentrup said.

        Franklin Township Trustee Rupert Ruppert said the township and Warren County are better able to provide services to the school. He said Franklin Township's fire station is closer to the site than Middletown's.

        Further, trustees are opposed because they don't want Middletown annexing any more land, which reduces the township's tax base, Mr. Ruppert said.

       



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