Written by Don Ratzlaff Thursday, 05 July 2007 04:15
The Hillsboro City Council agreed at its July 2 special meeting to participate in a plan to remodel unused space in city hall to locate an office for the newly appointed director of Hillsboro Ventures Inc.
Clint Seibel, who has been working in fund-raising for Tabor College for the past 12 years, met with the council on his official first day on the job with HVI, which is a business recruitment and incubation initiative of the Hillsboro Development Corp.
He and Darrell Driggers, a member of the HDC board, met with the council Tuesday to ask permission to remodel an unoccupied portion of city hall and to ask the city to pay for the replacement of two sets of windows that face toward Grand Avenue.
Beyond the cost of the windows, HVI would pay for and direct the entire remodeling effort, Driggers said.
After a walk-through of the area in question, both interior and exterior, the council agreed with both requests. The council’s motion also included replacing the two window sets on the front of the building that are used by offices already occupied by city staff.
The cost of replacing the windows in the HVI office area was estimated by Driggers to be between $2,000 and $3,000.
The old windows, thought to have been installed when the building was originally constructed, are drafty and lack aesthetic appeal, Driggers said.
When the work is completed, the HVI office will be accessible to the public through the single glass door along Grand Avenue near the southwest corner of the building.
As part of the remodeling plan, Driggers said HVI intends to replace the existing door and spruce up the entryway, perhaps with an awning.
Seibel also inquired about telephone and Internet access through the city’s current system. He said HVI was considering several scenarios for providing those services.
Driggers said the remodeling project could begin within the week.
Plat for new business park
The council reviewed a preliminary plat for Phase I of a new business park located along U.S. Highway 56, east of North Ash Street.
Albert Reimer, a local businessman, presented his plan to the council several months ago to develop a car and recreational-vehicle business within the designated area.
Lots also would be available for other projects.
City Engineer Bob Previtera of Reiss & Goodness Engineers told the council he had taken the project about as far as he could without authorization from the council to take the next steps to formalize the plat and zone the area.
The council authorized Previtera to begin the zoning process. Meanwhile, the council would try to come up with a name for the development as well as the two streets within it.
Ash Street plan reviewed
Previtera backed away from the “Cadillac” plan he presented at the council’s previous meeting for improving North Ash Street, and recommended a plan that resembled his original proposal.
The result of the reversal would reduce the cost to repair two blocks of North Ash and the intersection of Third Street from the “Cadillac” estimate of around $435,000 to around $346,000.
The council appreciated the reduction, but asked for two weeks to determine if it had adequate funding in the budget to pay for the project.
Because of weather delays elsewhere, Jim Ralston of APAC Kansas said his company could not begin working on the project until late summer or early fall.
The council agreed to write a letter to Mies Construction on behalf of Ray and Aldina Franz, 708 S. Lincoln, asking the Wichita-based company to respond to letters the Franzes had submitted regarding alleged damage to their sewer line.
Ray Franz said he believes the company damaged the line accidentally when it was replacing a water line in the area more than a year ago. The damage was discovered earlier this year when the area was uncovered to repair a leak.
Franz said nine people, including three city employees, saw the damaged area while it was uncovered. But before a Mies representative could inspect the damage, a local plumber had repaired the line and recovered it with dirt.
The company’s position was that it could not admit fault without having a chance to inspect the damage.
Franz said he has paid $1,722 to repair the line.
“I’m not asking the city to pay,” Franz said. He also said he did not want to sue the Mies company. He was asking only that the city write a letter to Mies on their behalf to open communication.
In other action, the council agreed to further explore a suggestion by Ralston that the city work with his company, APAC Kansas, to develop a crack-seal strategy for city streets instead of spending significant money to purchase its own sealing equipment.
Ralston said the city would not be using the equipment enough hours during the year to justify the purchase.