Just enough Hillsboro Planning Commissioners were present for their June 15, 2021, meeting to make up a quorum, but the five (chairman Tom Gooding, secretary Barb Hewitt, and commissioners Dave Booher, Don Karban and Michelle Ondrey (by phone) were busy for over an hour. Also in attendance were Mayor Don Downs and Eric Bradley.
Mayor Downs first reported about his attendance last Wednesday at the county mayor’s meeting held at the Historic Courthouse. He discussed possible uses for the $737,581 perhaps coming to Hillsboro as part of the Rebuild America Recovery Act; his personal wish is to use it for waste water infrastructure.
Possible projects are the Helston Street sewer line, on which some work has begun and/or the Huber Hill project, which has stymied the council for several years.
Secretary Hewitt reminded the group that the Farmers’ Market, sponsored by Imagine Hillsboro, will take place this Saturday morning, June 19, on Lincoln Plaza and that the Parks and Recreation Committee is fundraising for Central Park playground improvements.
Zach Wygal is quickly organizing the Summer Music Concert series.
Karban said four of the houses under the current Housing and Urban Development Grant have been repaired; four others are under way; and enough may be left in that grant to rehab at least one other structure. Discussion ensued about plans to request another grant.
Little has changed on the downtown building/vacant properties picture. The 90-day period given to the Corner Block Building to make repairs or face legal action is half over. Work is continuing to accommodate new tenants on the former site of Gianni’s and the smaller portions of the building on the southeast corner of the courthouse square (south of the World Harvest Church), but other sites seem delayed, perhaps by the high cost of building materials.
According to Hewitt, reporting on Jonathan Weyer’s behalf, the city has yet to receive possession from the EPA of the Eagle Zinc site; but a newer possible layout for the property is in the works. She mentioned a presentation from a group called the Center of Rural Innovation is scheduled; that group deals with, “...digital economy eco-systems.”
Karban suggested the commission issue a recommendation regarding publishing clearer descriptions of real estate that the city wants to sell in the future in the interest of transparency. That motion was withdrawn till the commission can have legalities researched.
The city council will have to deal with appointments to the planning commission as several terms have been up for some time.
Mention was also made of having the paper print more detailed agendas of upcoming meetings; summaries of agendas are published now (without charge), but the Public Meetings Act requirements are met if the full agenda is posted outside the meeting house (city hall for council meetings) within a specified time period.
The Planning Commission next meets on Tuesday, July 20, at 12:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.