Commission Explains Oak Street Duplex Sign

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Eight members of the Hillsboro Planning Commission met Thursday afternoon, June 18, in city hall; the commission, which under normal circumstances meets once a month, hadn’t convened since February because of the pandemic constraints.

Commission member Don Karban, who represents the Hillsboro Economic Development Corporation when the planning commission meets, explained the “Duplex Coming” sign which is located on Oak Street south of the intersection with West Wood Street on the west side of Oak. The HEDC acquired land there (25,600 square feet) hoping to develop a duplex complex to begin filling a void in the Hillsboro housing market. A developer has yet to be chosen. The available site is the size of a city block.

Karban also reported about the HUD Block Grant; six houses were selected by project manager Tom Denham for updates. The work on four of them has begun, and Karban expects more residences to be added to the list as funding is solidified.

Commission member and secretary Barb Hewitt reminded members that Imagine Hillsboro’s Farmers’ Market’s next appearance (for the second time this summer) was scheduled Saturday, June 20. She also thanked Ace Hardware for providing both the plants and the labor to fill the planters in downtown Hillsboro.

City planner Jonathan Weyer covered several topics. Efforts to sell the Corner Block Building continue. Atlas 46 is sponsoring a summit for businesses who may follow them to Hillsboro on Monday, June 29. Weyer is hopeful that Hillsboro will go from too many open store fronts to too few available over the next four years. The city is working to annex the Eagle Zinc site into city limits; the purchase of the site was completed in March. The Natural Resources Committee encourages better enforcement of ordinances concerning the appearance of lake lots; their theory is that the lakes are big tourist draws.

The South Marina Restaurant is now open, Thursday through Sunday. The Illinois Department of Natural resources (IDNR) said the spillway at the older lake has to be repaired (the pad is cracking with rebar showing and slipping). City clerk Cory Davidson said repair work will begin at the bottom of the spillway and be spaced out over four years.

When asked about the city’s strategic plan, Weyer said he hopes to have the final draft of the first part done by mid July. It’ll go to the planning commission for approval before a Public Hearing is held - after the city council also gives the plan its preliminary blessing. Weyer explained after Phase I there will be plans for economic development and land use to come.

Besides Chairman Tom Gooding, Hewitt, and Karban, other committee members present in person were Mike Ryan, Dave Powell, Rex Brown, and Mark Osborn. Present via phone was Michelle Ondrey. The next scheduled meeting will be on Thursday, July 16, at 12:30 in city hall.

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