IMAGINE HILLSBORO CHECKS IN • What’s Happening With Imagine

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Hello, Hillsboro! Lucas Altenberger here, Imagine Hillsboro’s new marketing coordinator. I have been given the opportunity to give bi-monthly updates regarding all things Imagine Hillsboro. So, welcome to our corner of The Journal-News. Here, I’ll be covering upcoming events, projects, ways to become involved with Imagine Hillsboro and other exciting news related to our organization.

Although many people have heard of Imagine Hillsboro, there are still lots of residents that don’t know about all the things we do and how encompassing the organization is. I’m going to use this first column to highlight Imagine Hillsboro’s origin and introduce our committees.

Imagine Hillsboro is one of Western Illinois University Institute for Rural Affairs’ MAPPING (Management and Planning Programs Involving Nonmetropolitan Groups) communities. The MAPPING meetings began in 2015, bringing residents together to discuss the changes and improvements they would like to see in the community. From there, six overarching goals were created and committees  were developed to coincide with these goals. Imagine Hillsboro’s first organizational meeting was held in 2016 with the following committees: Downtown, Education, Events and Festivals, Housing, Parks and Recreation, Technology, and Volunteerism. These committees have shifted  and molded to better fit Hillsboro’s needs over the years, as you will read below.

The Volunteer Committee helps organize projects throughout the community. Volunteerism is at the core of Imagine Hillsboro and this committee is the backbone of many other committees. Some opportunities have included staffing Imagine Hillsboro booths at events, organizing events such as the Rake and Run, beautification projects throughout the city and helping with the recreation of the Hillsboro Area  Public Library. We are always looking for more volunteers, no matter your skill set.

Parks and Recreation works alongside the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to help expand and improve Hillsboro’s beautiful parks and public spaces.  The Parks and Rec committee is the force behind the Pawsboro 620-K9 dog park that so many of our four-legged friends have enjoyed over the past couple of years - 620-K9 recently celebrated its second birthday! The Hillsboro Concert series brings many popular bands to Hillsboro. This summer we celebrated the concert series’ tenth anniversary with its first music festival. Parks and Rec is also home to two subcommittees. Bike Hillsboro, the group of community members who are actively  working on the Oo-De-Lally (mountain bike) Trail, trails near the Challacombe house, and the Reinventing Central Park. This group of familiar Hillsboro faces is focused on revitalizing Central Park - a vision that is well underway.

Imagine Hillsboro’s Technology Committee is focused on bringing the latest advances in technology and networking to Hillsboro. One of the biggest projects has been spearheading the implementation of fiber-optic internet in our area. They are also the driving force behind the free, high-speed WiFi that is available in downtown Hillsboro, as well as the dog park.

The Festivals and Events Committee and Downtown Committee have merged since the organization’s beginnings five years ago. This group of volunteers is responsible for several of the fun events happening in the city. You can even thank this committee for keeping the flowerpots down Main Street watered! Some of their main projects include the Hillsboro Farmers Markets, Hillsboro Harvest Market and Storybook Christmas Festival. They also host smaller events throughout the year like the Father-Daughter Princess Ball, Mother-Son Crazy Bowl and Community Easter Egg Hunt. Make sure to check out our website for information on this year’s Storybook Christmas event, coming up on  Saturday, Dec. 4. The Festivals and Events committee was previously home to the Imagine Hillsboro Theatre group, which has branched off to become their own organization, Blended Artists Imaginarium.

The Education committee is filled with current and retired educators and  focuses on maintaining the fidelity of our educational services in Hillsboro. Projects include Reading to the Rescue (students read to animals at the shelter) and collaborating with Hillsboro Area Hospital to bring in the Studer Group, which offers training and networking events for our district’s teachers and administrators. The Education Committee hosts the Spooktacular Golf Scramble, which has quickly become a popular event for golfers and non-golfers alike.

Last, but not least, the Bicentennial Committee is planning a celebration for Hillsboro in 2023 and is in need of community volunteers that want to help. Stay tuned for more information!

Make sure to visit our website, ImagineHillsboro.com, to learn more about our committees, see more upcoming projects, and sign up for our email lists. There are so many ways to get involved. We are ALL Imagine Hillsboro.

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