Hillsboro’s City Council, with all members present for the Tuesday evening, March 10, meeting, gave permission to various groups to use city streets as the setting for a busy schedule of festivals and concerts planned for the summer of 2020.
Zach Wygal represented Imagine Hillsboro as he requested permission to use the older city lake east of the beach for the group’s sixth annual Cardboard Boat Regatta. He also spoke of plans to move two of the concerts planned for the Summer Concert Series to downtown on June 13 and July 24; both are to be held on East Wood Street between Sullivan Drugs and the Opera House. Last, Tony Marcolini requested city help with plans to shuttle visitors to the Fourth of July activities at the lake.
Rod Stewart of the Old Settlers Association asked if the city would close Main Street for the group’s annual car show and block party on Sunday, Aug. 2. The group expects 150-175 entries this year. Displays will begin near city hall, go north on Main Street and circle Courthouse Square, and overflow onto East Seward. A band will perform on the Old Settler’s stage when the car show is over.
Stewart also asked permission to plan for a smaller show for Saturday, May 16, from noon until 5 p.m. Co-sponsors of that event will be the Opera House Brewing Company; only the portion of Main Street between city hall and Wood Street will be closed that day. No dissenting votes were cast concerning those plans.
The bills Finance Commissioner Katie Duncan presented for payment totaled $317,049.50. She characterized the amount as “...better than prior months, but still too high.” That opinion was an echo of earlier comments she’d made about a potential purchase.
The other action item on Tuesday’s agenda dealt with a proposal from Hurst-Rosche Engineers who asked for $12,100 to do the preliminary engineering work needed before planned water main replacement work. Phase I is a property and topographic survey; Phase II is for design; and Phase III is for overseeing the bidding process. The proposal totalled $12,100; it was accepted by the council.
During the departmental reports, Utility Commissioner Don Downs mentioned rental of a pothole machine (an industrial-size power washer designed to blast dirt from above buried mains so the mains can be repaired without digging, which might damage the mains even more) for recent use. The rental made locating water mains quicker when planning for potential Summer and Rountree intersection work. Downs hinted that it would be nice if the city owned a modern machine like that; Duncan pointedly asked if he hadn’t been listening to her comments about holding the line on expenses.
Downs, Mayor Brian Sullivan, and Woodard & Curran representative Tim Ferguson explained the letter sent to Hillsboro water customers didn’t mean an emergency exists. Current water tests show that no problem exists at the moment, but the average presence of the offending element was still above the norm. Ferguson said that based on past experiences, he expected the average would be fine after another cycle of testing.
Public Safety Commissioner Michael Murphy reported a shed on Mechanic Street had been taken down after complaints of youth congregating in the shed had been lodged. Two dilapidated sheds on Virginia Street were hauled away as well, and evidence exists of a clean-up of an old garage/shed on East Hillsboro is apparent.
What had been a troublesome property on Chase Street by the junior high has been rehabbed and is now a credit to the community, according to Murphy, but he mentioned other eyesores in town, especially any structure with a tarp roof. He said some residents will receive friendly reminders concerning ordinance violations in the mail soon.
Ignoring the two-hour limit to parking downtown is also an irritant; Murphy says that won’t be tolerated, even by apartment dwellers. Mayor Sullivan pointed out that parking lots off Main Street can be used by those who need a spot for more than two hours.
Public Properties Commissioner Daniel Robbins said the dock for non-motorized watercraft (kayaks and canoes) is finished, and the spot for its installation is almost ready. Repairs are in progress at the campgrounds, where water will be turned on this week. Rock has been spread in low spots of the dog park parking area, and the city was represented by Jim May and Kendra Wright at a playgrounds conference.
The Street Department picked up brush and a dead deer near the police’s shooting range (the location was a coincidence) and worked in filling potholes around town.
They also repaired water mains on Fairground, Kinkead, and North Welch.
The mayor said legal trouble might be in the future. A citizen complained on Monday that a vicious dog not on a leash attacked the citizen’s dog in his/her yard. When the animal control center was called, no one responded. A dispute had arisen recently between the city and the county after a contract for services between the two expired and the city chose not to sign a contract offer with higher costs to the city.
The county’s position seems to be no contract, no service. The city’s position is that animal control is the county’s responsibility. Both feel the state statute supports its own position, and Mayor Sullivan thinks the matter may go to court for resolution.
Community Planner Jonathan Weyer attended a two-day grant writing seminar. He also said Aly Grady, who works for the state’s economic development office, will be here next Wednesday, March 18, to tour and discuss the Eagle Zinc property. Also the Coop will have a major announcement to make on the 18th at the Opera House at 7 p.m.
City office personnel are ready to help residents file their census report online beginning Monday, March 23, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
City Engineer Scott Hunt said the Central Park bridges application is ready to be forwarded to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the paperwork for Motor Fuel Tax revenue work is in the hands of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) wants an easement to the Coal Tar Oil Site; the city hopes to package that request with others. The state has verbally approved a five year plan for spillway improvement at the old lake, and Hurst-Rosche has begun field work on the Helston Place sewer project.
The Rountree/Summer Street intersection project is out for bids, and exploratory work there by the Street Department found some water lines there are only two feet deep. Hunt said that may create an extra cost for the contractors and the engineers to mitigate.
The council next meets on Tuesday, March 24, in city hall. Visitors are welcome at the 7 p.m. meeting.