By Nicole Hennessy
A longtime resident of Fairview Park, I’ve seen it transform over the years. Not that, at any point, it was a bad-looking city, but improvements have made it a better-looking one.
I remember when the beautiful new Gilles-Sweet Elementary School was a dismal-looking building where my classmates and I assumed, the “bad kids” went. I also remember when there was a forgotten about trailer park lingering beside the library. (I’ve been told all those residents were assisted in relocation, by the way.)
In 2000, when Fairview’s current mayor, Eileen Patton, took office, the city was just a year into embarking on a new master plan. Then, run-down motels, gas stations and businesses littered Lorain Road. But one by one they were demolished, making room for newly-built franchises such as Dunkin Donuts, Circle K, Get Go and Chipotle.
Also added were renovated parks, new tennis courts, a clock tower, new roads and a city-wide tree replacement program as well as small details such as the pillar signs new businesses are required to have, giving the city its own identity noticeable when passing through from West Park to North Olmsted, an idea further exemplified by the benches and hanging plants placed amid the main corridor of businesses near 220th Street and Lorain Road.
The main goal of Fairview’s 1999 master plan (and subsequent 2005 update) was to improve the city’s tax base, which it did with the building of the multi-million dollar Gemini Center and a new office park situated on Brookpark Road.
Fast-forward to 2012, and the city is ready to organize a new master plan. As it is still in very early stages, West Life will be running a series — “The re-revitalization of Fairview Park” — that will look back on past improvements and give insight into new endeavors.
Also, updates pertaining to the 19-member planning committee meetings will be provided, the first of which is scheduled to take place on February 23.
So keep an eye out for Fairview stories, and feel free to let us know if you’d like to see one written.