Murphy: Bridge Allows Partial City Re-Openings

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During commissioner’s reports at the Tuesday, May 11, Hillsboro City Council meeting, Public Safety Commissioner Michael Murphy thanked Katie Duncan for stepping in as interim mayor when Brian Sullivan resigned for business reasons, and he congratulated Don Downs, who would be sworn in as mayor at the end of Tuesday’s proceedings.

Murphy told the gathering by Zoom that the Bridge Program, the period designated by the state between recent tight COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings and a full re-opening, would allow at least partial opening of city property to public gatherings, so a family from the St. Louis area which had held reunions in Hillsboro for the past 75 years can rent the Firemen’s Clubhouse for this summer’s event.

He also thanked Rich Stewart for the part-time clean-up work he’s done around town. Stewart, a partially retired HHS coach who still teaches building trades for the district in the mornings while serving as an assistant football coach for Greenville University, has worked for the city in his spare time for the past three years.

Duncan thanked her fellow council members for their help and support as she filled the roles of Finance Commissioner and Mayor; when Downs’ swearing-in ceremony was complete less than an hour later, she was Finance Commissioner only.

As Utilities Commissioner, Downs said he hoped Stewart would still consider working for the city in 2021 and thanked Duncan and City Clerk Cory Davidson for keeping the city on track. 

He hopes to hire Petersburg Plumbing and their root-destroying truck to clear more troubled spots in sewer mains around town. He also said a new manhole is needed on Fairground, but that work will wait until school is out so less traffic management will be involved.

IDOT is in the planning stage for a new storm drain at the intersection of Wood Street and Rt. 16/127 (Hamilton Street), with the crosswalks to be made ADA compliant.

Downs also offered condolences to the Carl Miller family; Miller died recently after years of service with the Street Department. He also reported the Imagine Hillsboro spring spruce-up day planned for volunteer work cancelled Saturday, May 8, was to be held May 15, weather permitting.

Hurst-Rosche’s Jeremy Connor said Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) work would be bid on Tuesday, May 18; that engineering plans for the Seward Street Bridge project had been submitted; and that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources(IDNR) had approved plans for continued repairs to the overflow structure at the City Lake.

Community and Hillsboro Planner Jonathan Weyer began with a report about the visit of Aly Grady, a representative of Illinois’ Economic Development gurus, who toured the town last week. Weyer and then mayor-elect Downs talked to her about potential matching grants that may be available. She now has the city’s strategic plan. Representatives of the Rivers and Routes Tourism group were here Thursday, May 13, to tour and to meet with Atlas 46, Hardcore Hammers, and to visit the Red Rooster.

He asked that townspeople follow the Head to Hillsboro social media offerings. This official tourism arm is a co-operative effort of the city, Imagine Hillsboro, and the Chamber of Commerce. The chairperson heading the effort is Rachel Beckett.

Weyer is still working on the economic plan; he hopes to submit a rough draft to the council sometime next week for review so it can be voted upon at the next meeting.

That next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 25, at city hall. The Planning Commissioner will meet at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18, in city hall, the public is welcome to attend.

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