USD 410 and Hillsboro partner on city improvement projects

Kate Maxfield, Emily Paulus and Callie Plenert present to the Hillsboro City Council
Nate Hein, Blane Bernhardt and Charlie Peters present to the Hillsboro City Council

USD 410 students presented to the Hillsboro City Council in a special city council meeting on Wednesday, March 9.

The meeting was held from 11:15 a.m. to around 11:45 a.m. Two different groups, led by teacher Darrel Knoll, presented during the 30-minute meeting, and both gave some simple and fairly cost-effective ideas to improve the town of Hillsboro.

The first group offered some revisions of the shelter houses in the park. The group consisted of Callie Plenert, Katherine Maxfield and Emily Paulus. They talked about how the shelter houses are outdated and need updating and fixing. The group suggested revamping and improving the shelter houses located in the park.

“People usually have events outside of them and don’t really use the inside of them because it’s just so nasty,” said Kate Maxfield.

Maxfield talked about how the lack of upkeep has led to the shelter houses being vandalized and treated poorly over the years.

The group suggested replacing benches, repainting, installing motion-activated lights, covering graffiti, cleaning floors, power washing buildings and more. The benefits would encourage more of the community to show up and use the buildings and would help more to show up and use the park for a small cost.

The group figured out that they could apply for a grant from the Kiwanis Club and ask the city for help.

“I really appreciate the approach that you have taken in trying to come up with a project that is affordable, but in my mind, as I am thinking about this, I am thinking that there is probably even more that needs to be done to those—like probably a new roof on both of those,” said Mayor Lou Thurston.

Recreation Director Doug Sisk agreed and said that both need new roofs, and the west shelter house needs a new picnic table. He said that some repairs had been made already but more were needed.

“I like this project. I definitely want to see us do something. I just wonder if I would like us to maybe do more than what you guys are asking for. I think we need new roofs—we need the new composite lumber that will last a lot longer,” said Thurston. “I’d like to see us get bids for new roofs. I’m a proponent to make these metal roofs instead of shingles.”

City Administrator Matt Stiles also brought up the idea of better lighting in the park, which had been mentioned by the previous class as well as cameras in order to help with security.

“We will find you to help paint, so don’t go too far,” Stiles teased the group.

The group and the council agreed that a grant through the Kiwanis Club needs to be submitted and should be applied for $1,000. The council approved the group to apply for the grant and move forward.

Knoll praised the group for their efforts.

The next group consisted of Nate Hein, Blane Bernhardt and Charlie Peters. Their proposal was for the pond located on the edge of town out by the liquor store next to Highway 56. The group suggested some fish for the pond and some landscaping around the pond.

“We suggest using bass, which would draw more fishermen to the pond,” said Charlie Peters.

The group suggested that the overall cost would be about $13,000 for the landscaping and the fish.

Thurston asked Stiles if the city had thought about doing rock anyway, and Stiles stated that they had. Stiles also said that the street department would probably be willing to help out with landscaping, especially if the group could help with fundraising for the fish.

The group said that there was a store in McPherson that could put baby fish in the pond for a reasonable price. The group and the council also discussed getting better camera surveillance out there.

“I like the idea of a dock, but at the same time, I’m a little more concerned from a safety standpoint about the dock as I am from fishing from the bank at this point, but it’s not to say we couldn’t talk about doing that later in the future,” said Thurston.

The group and council also discussed naming the pond after Ken Carlson after the man who died last year while mowing around the pond when his mower tipped over and trapped him in the water and caused him to drown.

Knoll thanked the council for listening to the council.

“I appreciate you listening to our proposals and being supportive of our students. I think it’s so important that students understand how important local government is and how being involved can help improve our community. We appreciate the opportunity to present,” said Knoll.

More from Laura Fowler Paulus
Marion Co. prepares for reopening
Once again, the weekly Marion County Board of Commissioners meeting opened up...
Read More