Throughout the spring, the city of Hillsboro has been working on the first phase of a sidewalk project, part of an upgrade that will also see more lighting added to the uptown area.
Workers in recent days have been installing a new sidewalk on the east side of the 100 block of South High Street, including a stretch of sidewalk around the corner on the north side of East Walnut Street.
Safety and service director Mel McKenzie said the sidewalk project, including curbs and gutters, is part of the city’s responsibility before the Ohio Department of Transportation begins a U.S. 62 paving project this summer that will include the length of the corporation limit from north to south.
He said previous paving work over the years had sometimes been done without grinding existing pavement, leading to curbs nearly vanishing in some cases. McKenzie said additional sidewalk and curb work will be performed in other blocks as needed.
During sidewalk installation on South High Street, a stone basement wall under the former Pasquales restaurant pulled away, McKenzie said.
McKenzie said the stone wall was not load-bearing, describing it as similar to stone foundations that exist in old buildings and homes all over Hillsboro, many 100 years old or more.
“We don’t know if it had already fallen in, or fell when we took the support away” because the mortar and grout was so old, he said.
McKenzie said workers repaired it with concrete.
“Once we saw it had fallen in, we paved it back with concrete. It’s better than it was prior,” said McKenzie.
Even though property owners are responsible for sidewalk maintenance, the city has approved a sidewalk replacement program that lets the city front the cost of the initial repair or installation, with property owners given the option of repaying the costs on their property taxes over the course of five years, or as many as 10 years if the property sits on a corner, requiring additional sidewalk length.
Mayor Drew Hastings said additional uptown lighting will be installed as part of the overall improvement project.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.