Clean Up Efforts Underway For Old Settlers Celebration

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Chairperson pro tem Barbara Hewitt called the July 20 meeting of the Hillsboro Planning Commission to order at 12:40 p.m. Also in attendance were Commissioners Don Karban, Mark Osborn, Mike Ryan, Dave Booher and Rex Brown; Mayor Don Downs; and Community Planner Jonathan Weyer.

Mayor Downs said the city had at least two shovel-ready infrastructure projects ready to go if money were available from COVID relief grants. He planned to attend a roundtable discussion sponsored by the county with other officials that evening. He added that efforts were ongoing to clean the town to help Hillsboro look presentable for the Old Settlers Celebration which begins in ten days.

Hewitt, during her Imagine Hillsboro report, reminded the group that free clothing/hygiene items for school-age children would be dispensed this Saturday, July 24, at the Event Center on Rt. 185 south of Hillsboro. The Parks and Recreation Committee is still fundraising for improvements to Central Park; Hiller’s Sheet Metal donated the capital letter “H” now standing in the park, and the Collision Center donated the material and labor to paint it. It was installed after the last commission meeting.

Karban said the HUD grant administered by Tom Dunham was still in progress. Four houses have been finished, three others have workers present, and at least one and perhaps two more are in the planning stages. Several factors have slowed the work––one is the lack of available contractors and another is the current inflated costs of building materials. Because of that, Dunham has advised the city to skip the next grant round. That application has a deadline of August 3, and not having the work started in this year’s grant would cost the city points when requests are judged. That in turn means the city will wait to apply again until 2022. Karban did say Hillsboro planned to apply for an Illinois Housing Authority Contract; that is not a block grant, as HUD is, so homeowners don’t have to live in the same area to be eligible. Karban also said it ought not be long until a contract is signed to build a unit on South Oak Street’s duplex site; construction should begin this fall.

Weyer informed the commission members that the Future Land Use Committee will now be known as the Growth Management Plan Committee; a discussion took place concerning when the city might receive the deed for the recently reclaimed Eagle Zinc site from the EPA and future uses of that site.

The commission next meets on Tuesday, Aug. 17, at 12:30 p.m. in city hall.

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