Hillsboro aims to resurface part of Ash St.

The city of Hillsboro will apply for federal stimulus funding for a street project that it otherwise could not afford.

The Hillsboro City Council, at its March 3 meeting, authorized City Administrator Larry Paine to apply for federal help to resurface a portion of Ash Street, likely from Grand Avenue north to at least Orchard Street.

The project was selected because the engineering work has already been completed, making it a ?shovel-ready? job the Obama administration has been targeting.

When cost estimates came in two years ago at around $370,000, council members decided the city could not afford to move ahead with the project.

Another reason the Ash Street project rose to the top of Hillsboro?s list is that stimulus funds can be used only for streets designated as federal-aid eligible.

With numerous cities in situations similar to Hillsboro, Paine said the competition will be fierce for the estimated $4 million in stimulus funds targeted for the Kansas Depart?ment of Transportation district that includes Hillsboro.

To heighten Hillsboro?s chances of being approved, the council agreed to Paine?s suggestion to include a 10 percent funding match to its application.

?We?d never be able to get it done for only $37,000 (of local funding),? Mayor Delores Dalke said. ?That?s why we dropped it the last time?we didn?t think we could afford ($370,000).?

The KDOT application deadline for stimulus funding is March 13, adding to the urgency of acting promptly, Paine said.

He added that if the project is approved it would be ?totally do-able? to have it completed within this calendar year.

USD 410 inquiry

The council tabled a request from USD 410 to have the city vacate its right-of-way along Madison Street adjacent to Jefferson Field to enable the district to better use the field as a practice facility for its track and field programs during this year of stadium construction.

Vacating the right-of-way would enable the district to avoid disrupting the football practice field and would increase safety for javelin throwers and sprinters.

Paine said he would first meet with city attorney Dan Baldwin to determine the best legal approach to the issue to ensure public access for residents of an adjacent house.

Diverting funds

The council received copies of a letter from Tabor College President Jules Glanzer asking the city to consider helping to fund an access road to the parking lot at the new stadium.

The money, estimated at $38,000, would be diverted from a related project along Wilson Street that is no longer needed.

The access road would run south from D Street, past the Historic Church, through the Tabor parking lot, past the tennis courts and baseball field to the parking lot proposed for west of the new stadium.

The request will be discussed at a later date.

Other business

In other business, the council:

n approved pay estimates totaling $129,301 for the city?s wastewater-lagoon project, which is near completion.

n passed a proclamation designating April 24 as Arbor Day in Hillsboro; the proclamation is required for Hillsboro to be designated a ?Tree City U.S.A.?

n agreed to participate another year in a mutual aid agreement with other cities through the Kansas Municipal?ities Energy Agency. The agreement ensures labor assistance between cities in case of power outages due to a natural disaster such as a tornado or ice storm.

n reappointed Mike Duerksen as the city delegate to the KMEA board and appointed Shane Marler as the alternate.

n heard the dates from April 27 to May 1 have been tentatively designated as ?Spring Cleanup Week? for Hillsboro. The date has to be cleared with the Marion County solid-waste transfer station.

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