Hillsboro council adopts sidewalk plan

Imagine having access to an 8-foot-wide lighted sidewalk along the former railroad bed from Main Street to Industrial Road, then north to the new hospital location.

The Hillsboro City Coun­cil liked that idea, plus ideas for additional sidewalk projects, that members approved at their June 20 meeting a resolution declaring the city’s eligibility to apply to the Kansas Depart­ment of Transportation for a $450,000 grant to make it happen.

City Engineer Darin Neu­feld of EBH & Associ­ates, and Dale Dalke, city street supervisor, presented eight possible sidewalk sections that the city would submit to KDOT as a “master plan” before its July 7 application deadline.

“We need to apply now because KDOT will not have an application process next year,” City Administrator Larry Paine noted in his agenda packet.

Because of the tighter application cycle, Neufeld said he anticipated fewer cities would be applying for the grants this year, thus enhancing the chances for Hillsboro’s application.

The eight projects listed were estimated to cost just over $1.4 million. With the 80-20 matching grant through KDOT’s Transpor­tation Alternatives Program, the city would be responsible for about $489,000 if all projects were constructed.

Neufeld said the purpose of approving a master plan would be that city has formally identified specific projects for the future. He said the current list of projects could be altered as needs arise.

Neufeld said Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism also has a sidewalk grant program, but it has an open application process with no specified deadline. He added that some of the city’s sidewalk projects would better meet the goals of one department over the other.

Asked why the sidewalks would be 8 feet wide, Neufeld said KDOT is taking a “hike and bike” approach that enables bicyclists and pedestrians to pass each other more safely while sharing the path.

The council voted 3-0 to approve Resolution 2017-05, which is designed to give KDOT assurance that the city will be able to fund and maintain the sidewalks funded by the project.

Home business permit

The council approved the recommendation of the city’s Planning Commission to issue a conditional-use permit to allow a beauty salon to operate as a home-based business at 205 Eisen­hower St.

Owners Corey and Lauryn Unruh said they want to put in a one-chair salon, operated by Lauryn, so she could be home to watch after their three children while earning an income.

Prior to the Planning Commission hearing, the city notified neighbors of the request. Four neighbors responded with letters saying they did not favor the idea. Chief concerns were increased traffic close to the elementary school and the negative impact a hair salon would have on property values.

The Planning Commis­sion approved the request, but with four restrictions: only one station will be allowed; no exterior changes will be made to the house in conjunction with the business; the two-car garage will remain a two-car garage; external signage will not be allowed.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• authorized payment of a $70,400 contract with APAC-Kansas of Emporia to chip seal the following street sections during 2017: (1) A Street, Ash to Main; (2) A Street, Washing­ton to Adams; (3) C Street, Ash to Tabor College campus, just east of Lincoln; (4) Jefferson Street, from Grand Avenue to B; (5) Madison Street, Grand to B; (6) A Street, Adams to Kennedy.

• while meeting as the Public Building Commis­sion, deferred making a decision on a bond-refinancing proposal that would result in a net savings to the city of $116,958 and shorten the payment schedule by two years.

Mayor Delores Dalke said she had some questions about interest rates.

Councilor Brent Driggers and Paine were absent from the meeting.

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