Fairlawn Mayor William Roth has a question for city residents: What quality-of-life issues should be funded by the Fairlawn Community Foundation?
The non-profit foundation was founded in 2010 to bring "the ooohs and aaahs of the Fairlawn Fireworks” back to the city’s July Fourth celebration in 2011, as a tight city budget had forced their cancellation.
The foundation reached that goal last spring, raising more than $60,000 from individual and corporate donors to fund the concert and fireworks show that drew about 25,000 spectators to each year.
The Fairlawn Area Chamber of Commerce stepped in with a $5,000 donation as major sponsor of the Fourth of July parade, which also had been cancelled by the city.
Roth, an ex-officio member of the foundation’s board of directors, said that while the organization adopted the Fourth of July concert and fireworks as its initial goal, its overall mission is “to promote the quality of life in the Fairlawn community.”
And that’s where Roth’s question to city residents comes into play.
“We just got our start and want to become more known in the community. We want to be more than just an organization that pays for the fireworks. We want long-term success, providing all sorts of quality-of-life opportunities for improving the city,” Roth said.
“ln this day and age, with government cutbacks, there are a lot of things (municipalities) can’t do anymore. The foundation is not designed to fill in for government, but to improve life (for community residents),” he added.
Roth said the foundation does not have funds to spend on a formal survey, but members definitely want to know what types of programs or amenities residents wish were offered in Fairlawn.
“We’re looking to ask the community, what do they think the community needs? What would they like to see the foundation do? What quality of life issues are important to them,” Roth said.
Examples of ideas tossed out by foundation members include creating “community gardens like Akron has or enhancing senior programs,” he said.
Residents can answer the foundation’s question in a variety of ways:
- Send an email to Pam Shell, foundation secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Drop off a note at City Hall
- Mail a postcard to Fairlawn Community Foundation, P.O. Box 5304, Fairlawn OH 44334.
Or just let one of the foundation directors know. They include Gary Himmel, president; David Brockman, vice president; Derrick Ransom, secretary; William Lowery, treasurer; Barbara Potts, Stephen Matesevac and Ronald Stuecher.