Council weighs Tabor parking request

Tabor College LogoThe Hillsboro City Coun?cil discussed an inquiry from Tabor College about including additional parking spaces when the city rebuilds damaged areas of Lincoln and B streets following the construction of the college?s fine arts center.

City Administrator Larry brought up the query during his report and asked for feedback. During the meeting, the discussion centered on Lincoln Street, but it was later clarified that the college was seeking extra parking spaces along B Street.

Paine said the request came to the city because Tabor was having trouble meeting code requirements for parking spaces related to the seating capacity of the proposed facility.

Paine said the college had essentially identified every available parking spaces on campus, including the lots across D Street that serve the men?s dorms, Campus Activities Center and Joel Wiens Stadium?but still came up short.

Paine said the college asked the city if it would create at least 20 parking spaces when the city fixes the street?or grant a variance to city code that would reduce the ratio of seats to parking places.

Paine acknowledged that adding the extra parking spaces?estimated to cost about $90,000?would be more cost-efficient if it was done at the same time the street was being rebuilt. But he questioned in principal whether the city should pick up the tab for the parking add-on.

?I think the general public would be unwilling to pay for that because the benefit is not going to benefit the general public,? he said.

Paine said rebuilding the two streets is the city?s responsibility; he would be open to bidding the street and parking projects together for cost efficiency if Tabor would agree to pay for the parking portion of the project.

The council did not take action on the topic. The issue likely will be raised at the next Zoning Appeals Com?mission meeting.

Other business

In other business, the council:

? heard Paine say that based on current cost projects, the city will not need to increase the electric rate for its customers in 2016.

? approved a proclamation citing ?Fair Housing Month? in the city. Paine said renewing the proclamation annually benefits the city when it applies for grants through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Devel?op??ment.

? authorized the mayor and council president to sign the annual lease contract with White Equipment Co. of Wichita for a skid loader.

Paine said the contract costs $3,500 per year, which is a considerable savings as opposed to purchasing its own loader. Under the terms of the agreement, the city essentially operates a new machine each year with a limit of 250 hours.

? noted that JE Dunn Construction has located its project trailer at the building site of the new facility for Hillsboro Community Hospital. He said the company offered bid opportunities to 20 vendors with a deadline of March 15.

Initial site grading for construction is projected for around April 1.

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