Council blesses ice rink, sled hill

Children and youth should have a few more outdoor recreational opportunities in Hillsboro this winter.

The Hillsboro City Council approved a proposal developed by three city staff members to create an ice-skating rink and sledding hill in Memorial Park.

The permanent structures would be made of dirt and located south and to the east of the rabbit barn on the fairgrounds. To make room for the new seasonal attractions, the six west horseshoe pits would be removed, leaving six pits for recreational use.

The city will also modify existing water lines so that a ?live? frost-free hydrant would be available as well as ?live? water camper hookups throughout the winter months. The practice of the city has been to shut off the water during winter.

The project, estimated to cost the city $2,100 for materials and labor, will begin around mid-January when excavation work begins in the West Winds development to improve drainage there.

The estimated 1,000 cubic yards of excess dirt that will need to be removed from the drainage project is the amount needed to create the rink and hill.

The skating rink will be about 50 feet by 60 feet with a 6-inch berm around the perimeter. A drain in the middle of the rink would drain water to the drainage pit along the adjacent golf course.

The proposed sledding hill would be located west of the ice-skating rink. It would be about 8 feet tall and sloped so that it can be mowed during the growing season. Both structures will be planted with grass.

An existing light pole at the location will be fitted with additional lights so the hill will be illuminated at night.

Once assured that the rink and hill would be covered by the city?s general liability policy, council members enthusiastically supported the plan, which was developed by Dale Dalke, street superintendent, Morgan Marler, senior water-treatment technician, and Mike Duerksen, electric superintendent.

?I think it?s a great idea,? said Councilor Bob Watson.

Chimney repair

The council approved a proposal to install an insert inside the chimney at the Scout House in Memorial Park as a way to address fire-safety issues there.

On the advice of the city?s Safety Committee, a chimney specialist was hired to inspect the structure. Some flue tiles had shifted, creating a 2-inch gap in the chimney. Also, some of the crown at the top of the chimney had broken loose, and the backside of the chimney had started to warp.

The cost of repairing the chimney was estimated at $6,085.

Wastewater funding

The council was told by Dale Yager, representing the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Rural Development Admini?stra?tion program, that the city should have funds available for related projects once the new wastewater-lagoon project is completed.

The city borrowed $4.552 million from RDA to develop the project east of Hillsboro. A grant worth $750,000 is part of the financial package.

Because construction bids came in lower than originally projected, Yager said the city could have nearly $1.4 million to apply to the project and other improvements to the city?s wastewater system.

Potential expenditures could include such things as new sewer lines, lift stations, manholes and equipment needs.

Yager said the city could have up to a year to decide how to use the money.

Project engineer Jim Koh?man of EBH & Associates was on hand to distribute a list of related capital-improvement and equipment needs that he said would easily absorb any available extra funds.

The council will review its options after the first of the year.

Ordinance on licensing

The council delayed action on an ordinance that would require private contractors for plumbing, heating and cooling and electrical to show evidence of 12 hours of continuing education in their field every two years in order to renew their work license with the city.

The state, pushed by the building trades themselves, according to City Administrator Larry Paine, is requiring proof of training as of Jan. 1 to ensure that skills are being upgraded.

Paine had suggested a proposal on how Hillsboro could implement the requirement, but in the end the council agreed that Paine should first check with the county and with Marion city government to ensure that the requirements for each entity would be ?in sync? and not create problems for the contractors.

?We don?t want to be the problem,? Mayor Delores Dalke said.

Other business

In other business, the council:

n agreed to charge the homeowner at 101 S. Cedar $500 to replace the city?s pipe from the main waterline to the property meter. If the pipe is found to be badly corroded, the city will reimburse the property owner for the expense.

The decision came following an extended conversation about the reasons for inadequate water pressure issue at the residence.

n heard from city engineer Bob Previtera that Mies Con?struc?tion will begin dirt work Jan. 12 on a project in West Winds intended to improve storm drainage on the west edge of town.

n approved several amendments to the 2008 budget. Budget amendments frequently are necessary to keep the city in line with state budgeting guidelines, Paine said. Discrepancies routinely occur because city budgets are approved a full 18 months before they are spent, and unforeseen expenses can arise during that time.

The amendments reflect changes in the allocation of city tax dollars, and do not increase the total amount of tax dollars a city can spend.

A public hearing on the amendments is planned for 4 p.m. Dec. 23.

n approved the purchase of 0.72 acres west of the old wastewater treatment plant to accommodate line changes with the new system. The city has agreed to pay Jerry Dalke $3,500 for the acreage.

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