Mayor wants you to join the ‘community’

The Hillsboro Community Plaza Project took a big step forward last week at our City Council meeting. The City of Hillsboro has purchased the three houses just adjacent to our original plaza property and will be clearing them off to add to the footprint of the Plaza. This is exciting news for a couple reasons, one – it removes some structures that needed to come down and were not adding to the value of the area and two – it gives us a clean slate to design and build the Plaza.

I know that many of you have heard of the project, but may be wondering why this is important to Hillsboro. Well again, there are several reasons for it;

◼ It will be a centrally located space for our community to gather and come together in a way that will strengthen our downtown business corridor

◼ It will be an additional “green space” for families to enjoy

◼ The Splash Pad that will be included will be a draw not only for people in Hillsboro but for people coming to visit our community

◼ Community events will be added in a downtown location and it will strengthen existing events such as the Arts & Crafts Fair

◼ It will beautify Hillsboro and our Central Business District and positively contribute to our quality of life

Hillsboro needs to grow, and to do that we need more people to make Hillsboro their choice to call home. Like many small cities in the U.S., Hillsboro has to deliver the amenities that people are looking for; solid infrastructure (streets, power, water), healthy lifestyle choices (safe places to walk & bike along with a variety of sports venues and green spaces), good schools (USD 410 & Tabor College being some of the best around), cultural activities (Hillsboro Museums, Fine Arts programming at both the secondary and college levels), intergenerational choices (from single family to retirement options such as offered by Parkside & Salem), and all this needs to come at a price people can afford.

That is why we are working on our streets, making improvements to our water delivery system, putting in a Hike/Bike Trail and adding a Community Plaza and Splash Pad.

I would also like you to know that we were able to meet with the project architect (who by the way is donating his time for the project) this past Saturday to go over some of the details and designs he has been working on.

It was a good meeting and when you see how it will come together I know that you too will be excited for our community. We are looking to have the colored renderings in a few weeks and after some additional input from the community he will deliver 3D views that we will be able to show you all.

This project is a public/private collaboration (which is how you get things done in small communities with limited resources) and there will be additional opportunities for you to “join the community” and contribute to this exciting, new community asset. As funding is available the project will be completed in phases, with the first phase being the basic Plaza footprint, Splash Pad and Rest Rooms. Additional features such as an outdoor multimedia amphitheater, covered pavilion and, in partnership with the KPP (Kansas Power Pool), a small footprint 25kW Solar Generation plant.

We hope to be able to have Phase One ready for the summer of 2020 (along with our new Hike/Bike Trail)! Stay tuned as we will have updates for you in the coming weeks.

Final thoughts

We have a lot going on in Hillsboro right now that is going to benefit us not only in the short term, but for the years to come. I am excited for the future of this community and did not sign up to watch over its slow demise. We can and we will do what it takes for Hillsboro to live up to our motto; “Respect for the past, strength for the future.” Let’s join together, roll up our sleeves and make it happen!

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