Projects promised and presented

For the city of Hillsboro, 2008 brought the promise of new projects, ranging from a new $10 million community hospital, to an important but hardly glamorous new sewer-lagoon system, to a simple earthen sledding hill and ice-skating rink.

In between, the community experienced both encouraging and challenging events.


City Administrator Larry Paine is continuing the personal Internet blog he began in 2005 while working in Concordia. The blog gives him a chance to share his point of view about city and economic-development issues.

Hillsboro Community Foun?dation announced Jan. 4 that upon closing its Hillsboro Area Impact Fund capital campaign on Dec. 31, pledges and contributions totaled more than $265,000, exceeding the goal of $250,000. More than 100 donors and businesses contributed to the fund.

As of the final weigh-in on Jan. 14, 160 people had signed up for the first Biggest Loser contest that began Jan. 8. The program is sponsored by Greenhaw Pharmacy with Jeanne Rziha and Anna Woods serving as coordinators.

Hillsboro Museums received word Jan. 16 that it has been awarded a $12,089 grant from the Kansas Humanities Council to create a new orientation exhibit within the museum?s Visitors Center. The new exhibit should be open to the public by early fall, according to Stan Harder, director of museums.


Hillsboro city leaders got their dander up a bit when they first read the colorful characterization used by the Buxton Co. to describe some of the dominant segments of the local market. The Texas-based firm, hired by the city to identify potential business that might locate in Hillsboro, used descriptives such as ?Mayberry-ville? and ?Back Country Folks? to describe consumer groups within a 15-mile radius of town. Mayor Delores Dalke said as she studied the definitions, they began to ring true.

David Vogel, a senior at Hillsboro High School, won the first Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce talent show at the annual Chamber dinner. For his rendition of old-time love songs, Vogel received $150 in Chamber bucks.

A group of women from Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church launched a project called Cinderella?s Closet, which accepted formerly worn prom dresses from the public to make them available to area high school girls who might otherwise be unable to afford a new one.

The Hillsboro Community Foundation presented a total of $6,000 in checks to the first six recipients of its Impact Fund grants. The recipients were: Marion County Emergency Medical Services ($1,000); Hillsboro Public Library ($1,000); Marion County Parents As Teachers ($1,000); Hillsboro Elementary After-School Pro?gram ($1,000); Hillsboro High School Chess Guild ($500).

The list of retailers interested in coming to Hillsboro as the result of the Buxton Co. market research was described as ?underwhelming? by members of the Hillsboro City Council.


The Hillsboro Tree Board presented a plan to the Hillsboro City Council March 18 for the development of a downtown park. Jonah Kliewer, board chair, said the plan would locate the park immediately north of the post office. The council approved the plan in principle.

Christy Wulf resigned as the Hillsboro Chamber of Com?merce director, effective May 23.

The city council approved at its March 27 meeting new billing rates for four utilities: water, sewer, electric and trash collection. The average residential bill will likely increase $30 to $35 per month.


The Hillsboro Police Depart?ment received complaints of gasoline being siphoned from cars parked in private driveways around town. Record fuel prices are being blamed.

Byron McCarty was reelected to the Hillsboro City Council by a 132-16 margin over challenger Martin Rhodes during the April 1 election. Incumbent Shelby Dirks did not face opposition.

Hillsboro was named a ?Tree City USA? for the 13th year by the Kansas Forest Service.

The city council approved at its April 15 meeting a new Neighborhood Revitalization Plan along D Street and then north of D Street to Third Street along Ash, Birch and Cedar.

About eight residents from the west side of Hillsboro attended the April 15 council meeting to voice frustration with drainage issues resulting from the West Winds development.

The first series of 60 30-second television ads promoting Hillsboro were to hit the airwaves on KWCH Channel 12 in mid-April. The ads were paid for by business donations.

The Peter Paul Loewen House, known in past years as the Hillsboro Adobe House, was one of 24 finalists for the Kansas Sampler Foundation ?8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture.? Public vote will determine the top eight winners.


The city council approved contracts of sale of city-owned commercial property to two separate developers May 12. Three lots in the newly platted Hills?boro Business Park were sold to JKC, LLC for a new vehicle dealership for Midway Motors, and two lots were sold in Hills?boro Heights to the Vada M. Reimer Trust for a new building for Reimer Classics, a local vehicle business.

Stan Williams, Marion, was the big winner in the Marion County Biggest Loser contest. The drag-racing hobbyist lost 36 percent of his original body weight, dropping from 268 to 171.


After a delay of three years, construction is well under way for a new wastewater lagoon system on a 40-acre plot east of Hillsboro. The city was presented a symbolic check for $5.3 million from the Rural Develop?ment Administration in 2005, but the project became bogged down in bureaucratic delays to the point where assistance was enlisted from the office of Rep. Jerry Moran.


The city council heard initial plans from the city engineer for addressing stormwater drainage problems on the city?s west side.

The Hillsboro Police Depart?ment announced it would be cracking down on illegal J-turns in the downtown area.

HMC/CAH Consolidated Inc., a Kansas City-based company, reached an agreement to acquire the assets of Hillsboro Commun?ity Medical Center from the city of Hillsboro, and construct a $10 million, 15-bed, critical-access hospital over the next three to five years. The acquisition was approved by the city council June 18.

The city council voted June 20 to subsidize an effort to bring a welding-training program to the community. The city agreed to spend up to $40,000 to make renovations in the former AMPI building, which the city owns, primarily to install the ventilation system required by the program that is being proposed by Butler Community College.


First Mennonite Church has assumed responsibility for recruiting and scheduling volunteers at the city?s recycling center. The center had been without a strong organizer since Paul Jantzen, a member of the church, had to withdraw for health reasons.

Hillsboro Police Chief Dan Kinning reached a personal goal of losing 100 pounds since the the start of 2008. Kinning weighed in at 347 at the start of the Biggest Loser program in January. By reaching his 100-pound goal, Kinning received $100 in personal funds from City Administrator Larry Paine, according to an agreement they made. Kinning said his goal is to reach 200 pounds.

The Peter Paul Loewen House was not voted by the public as one of the Kansas Sampler Foundation?s 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture. More than 8,000 votes were received from the public.

The city council agreed that the cost for drainage improvements in the West Winds development should be assessed to homeowners in the area that will benefit from the changes.

About 300 delegates were expected to attend the national convention of the U.S. Menno?nite Brethren Conference of Churches July 25-26 in Hillsboro. Public sessions were held at Tabor College and Hills?boro Mennonite Brethren Church.


Representatives from the Hillsboro Senior board tried unsuccessfully to get the city council to subsidize its operation to the tune of $28,000 starting in 2009. The center has been experiencing a steady revenue decline in a tour business it sponsors.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, running for reelection, made a luncheon stop at Hillsboro Aug. 25.


By a 3-2 vote, the city council turned down a second request for funding assistance for the Hillsboro Senior Center. At the same meeting, the council tabled a vote on creating a benefit district for the drainage project in West Winds after a long and energetic discussion with residents in the affected area.

First Mennonite Church dedicated the new playground area it built for children of the congregation and community.

Butler Community College President Jackie Vietti signed grant forms Sept. 10 securing partial funding for the new welding school in Hillsboro. The ceremonial signing was on location at the city-owned former AMPI property. Training will start in fall.


An all-day celebration Oct. 18 marked the 50th anniversary of moving the Peter Paul Loewen House to Hillsboro.

Jessi Weisbeck and Dan Kinning, both of Hillsboro, were the female and male winners of the second round of the Biggest Loser weight-reduction contests.

City workers and volunteers erected a new ?Hillsboro? sign along U.S. Highway 50 at Indigo Road on Oct. 20.


Four homes were part of this year?s Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Association Holiday Home Tour: Steven and Virginia Stafford, 401 E. Grand; Tim and Donna Diener, 206 Eisenhower; David and Brenda McGuinness, 700 S. Adams; and Boyd and Elaine Cargill, 514 S. Wilson.

The city council approved a plan initiated by city staff to build a sledding hill and ice rink with dirt that will be removed from the drainage project in the West Winds development in January. The two projects, which will be built in Memorial Park, were estimated to cost $2,100 for materials and labor.

One juvenile and one adult male were arrested in mid-December for their involvement in a two-month crime spree that involved 25 break-ins or attempted break-ins at Hillsboro businesses starting in mid-October. A second juvenile was involved in the first five burglaries but is no longer living in Hillsboro.

The Butler Community College welding center in Hillsboro graduated its first three students in mid-December.

An ordinance passed by the city council Dec. 16 will require technical contractors to show proof of continuing education in order to renew their city license each year. The city will require proof of six hours of continuing education each calendar year, beginning with renewal for 2010.

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