Fairborn to seek funds boost Colonel Glenn appeal

As construction on Colonel Glenn Highway nears completion, Fairborn is looking to create a “wow” factor along that corridor by enhancing the architectural and landscaping features, said Pete Bales, Fairborn’s public administrative services director.

The cost to implement the branding plan has not been determined, and the city will try to raise funds to cover the cost by soliciting support from stakeholders who will benefit from the project, Bales said.

Fairborn has been working with POD Design for landscape architecture and graphic design for the stretch of Colonel Glenn that divides WSU and a business district that includes restaurants, retail, office and hotels.

The landscaping phase includes: wayfinding signage; decorative LED lighting, including green and gold colors; traffic calming measures; enhanced sidewalks; brick plazas and columns; accessibility standards; and two median islands (850 feet and 250 feet).

A public meeting to review the proposed plan is scheduled for Sept. 22 in the Berry Room at the Nutter Center. The city plans to present the plan to WSU’s Board of Trustees in October, then the fundraising campaign will begin, Bales said.

“There’s still time to tweak it, but by and large, it’s virtually finished,” Bales said.

POD Design is expected to have the final design complete by the beginning of October. The project could be phased in, depending on how successful the fundraising is, Bales said.

“One thing we don’t want to do is lose momentum,” he said. “As soon as we start raising funds and see some progress, we could put some shovels in the ground and create the beginnings to this. I hope we see some progress in ‘15.”

In a prepared statement, WSU said it expects to complete its own branding project after the first of the year.

“We are very pleased with the city of Fairborn’s collaborative approach with its neighbors, incorporating us into the fabric of the community as they develop Colonel Glenn Highway into a destination corridor,” the university said. “We look forward to continued discussions with Fairborn about how we can partner to implement this aesthetic vision we all share for this important artery in our community.”

Frank Ecklar, director of planning and marketing at the Greater Dayton RTA, said the agency supports the features that are being proposed, such as the curb cuts and lighting that will improve accessibility.

Ecklar said Fairborn could apply for New Freedom federal funding to help pay for the project, but the RTA at this point does not have plans to contribute any money. The RTA’s capital support will be providing bus shelters, he said.

RTA’s Route 1 operates along Colonel Glenn Highway.

“With any construction, you’re going to experience some delays,” Ecklar said. “But we’ve been operating quite smoothly through there and we’re looking forward to the final product.”

Fairborn’s goal was to have the $1.46 million construction project completed by Thanksgiving, but Bales said it is six weeks ahead of schedule and on track to be finished sometime next month.

R.B. Jergens started the construction project May 5. A 0.7-mile stretch on Colonel Glenn, from Paramount Place to just west of University Blvd., is being repaired.

The city received a $400,000 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission to help pay for the construction project. The remaining balance will be paid out of the motor vehicle license tax fund ($967,000) and water construction fund ($93,500), the city has said.

Improvements include: resurfacing and restriping the road; replacing and installing new curbs and gutters; sidewalk installation; crosswalk enhancements; and installation of two curbed islands in the center median.

Approximately 22,000 vehicles travel Colonel Glenn daily, which makes it the second-busiest road in Fairborn. WSU has an enrollment of about 17,600 students, and the Nutter Center hosts 200 to 225 event days per year.

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