The Hillsboro City Council at its March 13 special meeting changed its policy regarding the city’s public overnight campground in Memorial Park in anticipation of the start of construction of the Diamond Vista Wind Energy Project in the vicinity of Marion County.
Mayor Lou Thurston said the city will likely host construction workers at the campground who come to the area to work on the project. It is projected that as many as 500 workers could be in the area by July and August.
“We’ve already had people inquiring about places to put RVs and trailers and the like,” Thurston said. “The question is, would the council be amenable to a temporary waiver? Normally the restriction is 30 continuous days and then you have to pul put.”
At the same time, Thurston said the campground had already been booked for the Marion County Fair in July and the Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair in September.
“If there was somebody there, they would have to move during those times because we wouldn’t have it available,” Thurston said.
Asked how long construction workers maybe using the campground, Anthony Roy, the city economic development director, said, “They’ll be done (with construction) by the end of the year. At least, that’s what they say.”
Rather then extending the campground occupation indefinitely, Don Osenbaugh, interim city administrator, saud, “You might want to have them renew (the agreement) it every 30 days.”
Roy was informed that construction workers would be coming and going during the project.
“Some people might be here for a period of time and then others come in and work for a period of time,” he said.
Thurston said the goal of changing the campground policy parameters would enable the community to benefit from the daily purchases the workers would require.
“If you would be amenable to that, that would give us some flexibility in offering a place for those people to locate, and quite honestly, capture their business here in Hillsboro,” Thurston said.
City Administrator Larry Paine, still on health leave, offered some advice.
“You could designate that (new) policy from the period of time of construction—let’s say, the first of April through the first of April 2019—just so you’ve got some coverage there. Then it autocratically reverts back to the current policy.”
City Attorney Josh Boehm added, “Each individual would have to redo (the agreement), just because its the same camper doesn’t necessarily mean that they sell it to the next guy. They would have to renew.”
The council asked the mayor and the city attorney to work on the wording of the changes and bring it back to the next council meeting.
In other business:
◼ the council agreed to appoint Bryce Naerebout to the Hillsboro Fire Department. Naerebout has met the requirements and has been approved by a vote of the fire team.
Thurston said, “I got to meet him. He’s a young man and seemed enthusiastic. Just from my meeting with the fire team last Wednesday, it looked like he would be a good addition.
He added, “I’m really pleased that we have a good mix of veterans and younger folks on our fire team. I think that stands us in good stead for the future.”
◼ met in two executive sessions. The first one was for attorney/client privilege to discuss potential litigation. Boehm, Paine and Osenbaugh were asked to join the session.
The second executive session was justified by attorney/client privilege for the “division of real estate.” Boehm, Paine and Osenbaugh were asked to join the session.
No decisions were made when the public session resumed.