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Published: Thursday, 8/26/2004

Fayette has 'edge' on other towns

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Tom Spiess shows a map with dwellings and occupants to the Fulton County Commissioners. Tom Spiess shows a map with dwellings and occupants to the Fulton County Commissioners.
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FAYETTE - Mayor Anita Van Zile has an edge - the Fayette Edge.

"The Edge is comprised of site-specific advantages in Fayette that are not found in other locations," she told Fulton County commissioners recently at the annual town hall meeting with village officials in the Fayette Opera House.

The meeting is a time for residents and village officials to bring up concerns, problems and praise to county commissioners.

One site-specific advantage, the mayor said, is location - the village is the only community in northwest Ohio at national crossroads, with U.S. 20 representing the town's coast-to-coast link and with U.S. 127 as the border-to-border connection. In addition, it is at the easternmost edge of the Corn Belt where "agricultural commodities can be fabricated into food products that fuel the appetites of North America's eastern seaboard population base."

Mrs. Van Zile noted that thousands of tourists travel through Fayette each year, and Michigan's industrial and agricultural products reach their first east-west highway only 1.5 miles into Ohio "right here in Fayette."

"In short, Fayette has quietly appeared on the radar screen of many forward thinkers, and regional planners," Mrs. Van Zile told commissioners.

Several people gave presentations to update the commissioners on local happenings, including Don Glasgow who offered a few notes about reed organs, including the three-keyboard reed organ in the Opera House that he restored.

Others noted that Fayette's entrepreneurs have improved and refurbished 20 businesses along Main Street and reduced storefront vacancies by more than 50 percent.

Work is continuing, commissioners were told, on the village's well relocation project, in which wells tap into the underground aquifer away from a contaminated area. The relocation project began after the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency announced in October 2000 it found traces of trichloroethene and vinyl chloride in groundwater. Vinyl chloride is known to cause cancer in humans.

The agency is directing a cleanup of chemicals from the former Fayette Tubular Products plant on Gamber and Railroad streets. Liability for the cleanup rests on D.H. Holdings of Chicago, the company that used to own the plant site. Edward Onyia of the EPA said it is putting together proposals on ways to clean up the contamination and there is likely to be a public hearing about it by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the former plant's new owners have been renovating the building and attracting new tenants.

Commissioner Jack Graf said commissioners were pleased to have the opportunity to meet with the local residents and listen to their comments. Fayette is one of the more well attended town meetings, he said.



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