Council OKs retail signage for downtown

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Visitors shopping in Hillsboro’s downtown business district will soon have new directional signs to help them find most of the retail stores they might be looking for.

The Hillsboro City Council approved at its Tuesday meeting a project proposed by the Chamber of Commerce to erect retailer directional signage on the northeast and southwest corners of the intersection of Main Street and Grand Avenue.

Diane Claassen, representing the Chamber’s promotions committee, said it’s not unusual for shoppers from out of town to ask directions to a store even though the business district covers only about four blocks.

“We want people to know what we have to offer on Main Street,” she said.

Claassen said participating stores-all of which are required to be Chamber members-will pay for the individual nameplates that identify the name and direction of their respective stores.

Each 6-inch-by-24-inch nameplate will be attached to an attractive frame that will be situated on the brick islands near the stop signs at the corners of the intersection.

Claassen asked the council for permission to proceed with the project and for city assistance to pour concrete and place signposts into base containers-possibly whiskey-barrel halves-and to position the base containers on the islands.

Claassen said she checked with the police department about potential safety hazards the signs might cause, and was told no hazard was foreseen.

The signs will be no taller than 114 inches, she said.

The council affirmed the concept, but wondered about limiting participation to Chamber members. Because the city would be providing concrete and labor, the council did not want to be accused by non-members of favoring some businesses over others.

Claassen said only four of the retail businesses in the area are not Chamber members, and that two of them joined when she talked to them about the project.

“We need to encourage Chamber participation in everything we do,” Claassen said. “We’re meeting all the time to promote as a Chamber group. It takes a lot of time and energy and we need to have support.”

Swimming pool policy

After some lively discussion, the council approved by a 3-2 vote some minor changes to the city’s policy regarding swimming pool usage.

Mayor Delores Dalke broke a 2-2 tie after councilors Shelby Dirks and Matt Hiebert voted in favor of a recommendation to accept the revised policy, and Len Coryea and Byron McCarty voted against it.

The dissenting councilors said later they did not vote against the recommendation because of the policy changes. They were expressing frustration that, in spite of the council’s intention to do so, a fully revamped policies-and-procedures manual had not been written prior to the recent hiring of a manager to run the pool and new aquatics center.

In other business, the council:

— received from Burbach Aquatics a timeline of steps leading up to the start of construction of the new aquatics center Sept. 12.

— heard from city engineer Bob Previtera of Reiss & Goodness Engineers that the third phase of the Main Street project is proceeding smoothly. He expected the asphalt overlay to be applied at the beginning of next week.

— accepted a pay estimate of $3,527 from APAC-Kansas for work done on the Main Street project from May 29 through June 25, and a pay estimate of $2,030 from Reiss & Goodness for inspecting that work.

— reviewed an estimate prepared by Previtera regarding possible improvements on Adams Street from B Street to D Street. The council had requested the information in connection with a plan by Tabor College to build townhouses for students along the west side of Adams.

The cost of making the desired street improvements to enhance drainage in the area was estimated at $236,000.

— approved Resolution 2005-7 that provides for the issuance of temporary notes totaling $1.92 million for improvements to the water-treatment plant and system

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