Monday, November 17, 2003

Indian Springs name sticks

Township had moment as city

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD TWP. - The sides of Jim Parker's dump trucks read: "Riddler Trucking, Indian Springs, Ohio."

And for good reason, he says, even though an Ohio appeals court ruled in 1996 that the township could not become the City of Indian Springs.

map "People have no clue where Fairfield Township is," says Parker, who started the hauling business in 1999.

That's also why Cincinnati Christian School, based in Fairfield, calls its new high school at 7474 Morris Road in the township, the "Indian Springs campus."

"There are a lot of people who can't make the distinction between Fairfield and Fairfield Township," explains Sherry Wilkerson, school development director.

Fairfield Township is the sprawling new suburban area along Ohio Bypass 4 east of Hamilton. Smaller pieces are located west of Fairfield, between River Road and the Great Miami River, and southwest of Hamilton along Ohio 128.

Ten years ago, the township sought city status to protect itself from Hamilton, which wanted to annex 1,037 acres.

Mike Fox, then the state representative for the area, pushed through legislation enabling the township to become a municipality between Sept. 29 and Dec. 31, 1994. The law allowed the township to become a village, and eventually a city, through a vote of township leaders - and without consent of nearby cities.

But 18 months later, the 12th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the special legislation unconstitutional, and ordered Indian Springs to stop operating as a city.

In early 1997, a campaign to change the name to Indian Springs Township failed when organizers couldn't collect the necessary 4,000 signatures on petitions.

Township Trustee Steve Morgan says the name change is a dead issue today. "We are Fairfield Township," he says.

But the name lingers. Hundreds live in the Meadows of Indian Springs subdivision at Ohio 4 and Ohio 4 Bypass. Near the homes is a commercial development, the Commons of Indian Springs.

Parker and others still use Indian Springs as their address, although the township's 45011 zip code is assigned to Hamilton. When the Indian Springs Baptist Church moved to Hamilton from the township in April, Pastor Joe French decided to keep the name.

And the 2004 Cincinnati Bell Yellow Pages maps label land between Fairfield and the Great Miami River as "Indian Springs (Fairfield Twp.)."

"It was only Indian Springs for a very short time, but yet the name sticks in some people's mind, and they still refer to it as such," says Chris Gilbert, Fairfield Township assistant administrator.

For Cincinnati Christian Schools, Indian Springs still provides a desired identity.

"Since we had two campuses, we wanted people to know they were two separate places," Wilkerson says. "Plus, we liked the sound of it."



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