Main Street bricks could turn to gold for Hillsboro budget

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Hillsboro residents interested in using the old bricks from last summer’s Main Street restoration project may have to put those plans on hold-at least temporarily.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Hillsboro City Council approved an agreement with Ryder Brick Co. of Bixby, Okla., for the sale of the majority of the old bricks, which are piled just west of the city’s maintenance station along North Adams Street.

City Administrator Steven Garrett said he had negotiated a price of 15 cents per brick. The company will put all the bricks on pallets, and will leave about 30,000 bricks behind for city use.

Garrett said the agreement could result in the generation of $70,000 to $100,000 for the city. Mayor Delores Dalke said that money “could go a long way” to cover the cost of next phase of the Main Street project.

When City Clerk Jan Meisinger asked how she should respond to citizens who want to acquire bricks for their personal use, the council agreed it would not be wise for residents to pick through the bricks for the time being because the company had already inspected the pile as a basis for the agreement.

The council noted that more bricks will be unearthed when the second phase of the Main Street project begins in late spring.

Main Street, Phase II

Regarding that project, the council heard good news from City Engineer Bob Previtera: the second phase of the renovation project-North Main from the former railroad crossing to Third Street-will cost considerably less than had been projected when it was first considered in 2001.

APAC Kansas submitted an estimate of $141,884 to complete the project compared to the original estimate of $220,000 in 2001. The savings are the result of extending the original contract for Phase I rather than soliciting open bids for Phase II.

As part of that agreement, APAC used the same or similar unit prices as it had used in the original project.

“Looking at these numbers, I suggest moving forward with it,” Previtera said of the contract for Phase II.

Previtera said work could begin in early June and should be completed within 75 days.

Dalke said if APAC wanted to start sooner, it could. The early June target date had been set to avoid inconveniences for a parade planned to celebrate Hillsboro’s 120th birthday during Memorial Day weekend.

Dalke said the parade could be rerouted to accommodate an earlier start. Previtera said he would review the schedule with APAC officials.

Annexation approved

The council unanimously approved Ordinance 1083, which provides for the annexation of about 21.5 acres of land located just south of the Park Village property.

The annexation had been requested by Parkside Homes Inc. Glenn Thiessen, director of environmental services at Parkside, said some of the land may be used for a storage building and some for additional duplexes.

Thiessen said Parkside does not plan to build on the portion of the land that lies in a flood zone.

Adult entertainment regs

The council also approved Ordinance 1084 with a unanimous vote. The ordinance outlines zoning regulations designed to discourage the development of adult entertainment enterprises within the city.

The ordinances covers escorts agencies, adult book or video stores, adult novelty stores or adult entertainment establishments.

In previous sessions, Garrett had said he knew of no inquiries regarding such business in Hillsboro, but he felt the city should take a proactive stand on the issue.

Algae monitoring

Garrett reported the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had informed him it would be monitoring of algae levels this summer at Marion Reservoir in the light of last year’s bloom that temporarily stopped water production in Hillsboro and Marion for about three weeks.

“We want to be ahead of the game, and I think that puts us there,” Garrett said of the testing.

He added that, thanks to changes made at the water treatment plant last summer, the city will be able to continue water production regardless of the algae level in the water.

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