Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Fairfield Twp. race focus: growth

Newcomer challenges 2 incumbents

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP — It comes as no surprise that issues surrounding rapid growth are at the core of the trustees race here, as two incumbents face off against a newcomer who argues that a new perspective is needed.

        The incumbents, Steve Morgan, 43, and Mark Sutton, 45, are being challenged by Dean Langevin, 48, to lead the township of 15,500 residents — up from 9,000 in 1990.

        Mr. Sutton, a project manager for a Springfield, Ohio, electrical services company, said the key issues are improvements to safety services including more staffing and better facilities, road improvements and park development.

        “To ensure public safety, police and fire services need to stay up with our growth,” Mr. Sutton said.

        As the township begins to receive money next April from a voter-approved fire and paramedic levy, the township needs to make good on its pledge to provide paramedic services to the community. A new police station already is planned on Walden Ponds Circle off Princeton Road, he said.

        Mr. Sutton also said that the community needs an adequate park system, and “we need to continue development of the township park at Millikin and Morris roads as well as start ... development of park land donated to us off Walden Ponds Circle.”

        Mr. Morgan, who owns a used car dealership in the township, said approved tax increment financing will pay for improvements at Bypass 4 and Princeton Road in the wake of major commercial development in the area, including new Home Depot and Wal-Mart stores.

        Dealing with increasing traffic and widening roads to accommodate it are key needs to be addressed. Mr. Morgan also stressed the importance of improving safety services and launching paramedics.

        Mr. Langevin, creative services director for a communications group, has proposed a four-point plan for the future of the township.

        “First, we must put a priority on police protection, and ... shore up our fire protection. We are still waiting for paramedic services,” Mr. Langevin said.

        Township leaders need to investigate the spending of $287,000 in legal fees over the past four years to determine if there is a more cost-effective way to retain legal services or trim services, Mr. Langevin said.

        Growth needs be accomplished with care, he said. “We have to find a balance ... We can't grow so fast we detrimentally affect our schools” or quality of life. And, Mr. Langevin said: “There is a lack of communication with residents ... about what the trustees are doing.”


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