Hillsboro leaders review street repair projects

The Hillsboro City Coun­cil responded with initial feedback regarding street-project priorities during its April 4 meeting.

City Administrator Larry Paine said he and street supervisor Dale Dalke compiled a list of 15 projects, some of which included different repair options, such as asphalt, concrete or brick.

Paine said the list of projects, if all were pursued, would cost the city between $8.3 million to $8.7 million and would take several years to complete.

“To get the projects constructed, it seems best to have either two or three major construction projects spread over a period from now to 10 years,” he said.

Some of the projects can be completed with the help of USDA Community Building Development Grant funding. Other projects would need to be bonded because they wouldn’t qualify for a CDBG.

Paine invited the council feedback by asking, “What (streets) are you getting the most questions or comments about?”

Councilor Byron McCarty said he hears mostly about “both ends of Grand Avenue” — the west end, from Ash to Hickory streets, and the east end, from Adams to Washington streets.

Councilor Brent Drig­gers mentioned B Street, from Lincoln to Adams, because of the damage the street has sustained during the construction of the Tabor College fine arts center.

The East Grand and B Street projects also share a common characteristic: they make a less-than-favorable impression when out-of-town guests drive those streets for high school and college events.

Paine said both of those project would need to be financed with bond money.

Also mentioned was Industrial Road, now that the new hospital is nearing completion. Paine said the north half-mile of the road is the responsibility of the city while the south half-mile is under county jurisdiction.

The council made no decisions at this meeting, but Paine encouraged members to “do your homework” to identify priorities in time for the April 18 meeting.

Beer garden proposal

The council deferred action on a request from the Marion County Fair Board to facilitate a one-night beer garden at this summer’s county fair when it heard mixed messages regarding the endorsement of law enforcement.

Fair board members Brandi Barney and Brett Unruh attended the meeting to field questions and comments about the board’s written proposal.

The board is proposing a beer garden in conjunction with the annual demolition derby on Saturday night to help generate needed revenue to sustain the fair.

The board proposed fencing off the southeast corner of the rodeo arena for the event; no one would be allowed into the beer garden without a driver’s license verifying the person was 21 years of age.

Persons wanting to participate would purchase one wrist band for $12, which would authorize them to obtain up to four beers; no beer would be allowed to leave the enclosed area.

Barney indicated the proposal had received approval from the county sheriff’s office and the Hillsboro police department.

Paine said he had received information second-hand that Police Chief Dan Kin­ning did not support the proposal. The council agreed it would be important to clarify local law enforcement’s position before taking action.

The proposal will be on the agenda for the April 18 meeting.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• heard a presentation by Paine about the future of power supply options available to the Kansas Power Pool as current providers change, particularly the expiration in 2023 of the Westar 50-mega­watt contract with KPP.

“Getting replacement power is not a speedy pro­cess, so starting now is an important step,” Paine said.

• welcomed Kent Becker, who came to the meeting to introduce himself as the new District 1 commissioner for Marion County.

“Basically, I’m here to say I’m here to serve,” Becker said. “Anything I can do to facilitate between the county and the city, my intention is to do that.”

• participated in a tour of the new Hillsboro Commun­ity Hospital facility as the final agenda item of the meeting. The opening of the hospital is scheduled for the end of April.