Hillsboro makes plans to honor former city leaders

Honoring two former city leaders who have recently died was a topic of discussion at the Hillsboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 27.

City Administrator Matt Stiles said, “In the last few months, we have had some pretty big losses for community leaders—Delores Dalke and Larry Paine. Delores spent decades on the council and as mayor. Larry Paine was here for over 13 years and moved a lot of things forward for the city.”

Stiles went on to say that he and Mayor Lou Thurston have discussed both leaders’ service and possible ways to honor their impact on the community.

“The mayor talked to the families and the ideas kind of bubbled up that maybe we could dedicate some of the projects that they worked on to them. Delores was a really big driving force for getting the swimming pool done. It required a sales tax vote, and it took a lot of effort and a big heavy lift to get anything like that done,” said Stiles. “We would propose maybe looking at naming the pool The Delores Dalke Family Aquatic Center. It would be kind of an appropriate thing. I think her sons would like that based on the conversations the mayor’s had with them.”

Stiles said that they also spoke with Paine’s family about naming the splash park after Paine as he was instrumental in getting the splash park and community plaza going as well. One suggestion was the Larry Paine Memorial Splash Pad.

He said, “He kind of led the way as far as acquiring those properties, and helping germinate that idea. So we talked with his son, daughter and wife Susan about that. They felt like that would be a great honor for him.”

The council, Stiles and Mayor Lou Thurston discussed the ideas and how to go about it since something like this had never been done in the city and there are no precedents for it all. They discussed having Todd Jost of Jost Welding do signs as he already has some ideas for it and would be willing to take on the project for the city.

“As far as financial impact, there’s really no financial impact other than signage. If we don’t do anything, we’re still gonna need signs there anyway. So it’s really just cost to upgrade that,” said Stiles.

Thurston expressed his support of all of the ideas.

“I think as a community we owe those people a big debt in terms of what they, what they did for Hillsboro. Especially Dolores—27 years! I’ve been in this almost six and I just can’t get my mind around 27,” said Thurston. “Larry really helped really bring professional city administration to Hillsboro. And he was somebody that was well thought of. He was a mentor to many other city administrators and was very involved in KPP (Kansas Power Pool, KMU (Kansas Municipalities Utilities), and he was just recognized across the state and across the nation. I think it would speak well of Hillsboro that we would be willing to do that.”

Thurston suggested that he could create a mayoral proclamation for both actions and then they could write something up and frame it for each of the families. He also suggested having some kind of a ceremony and ribbon cutting for both events.

The council expressed support and voted to approve the mayor proclaiming the two events.

The city will provide details for both events once more information is available.

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