City crews and contractors on Monday were putting the finishing touches on a decorative clock in front of the old fire house at North High Street and Governor Trimble Place as work continued on infrastructure renovations and improvements in the area.
The clock, purchased by the city using donated funds, was installed by The Verdin Company of Cincinnati. Sean Wooton, a Verdin employee installing the clock Monday, said the company specializes in manufacturing and installing clocks, cast bells and electronic carillons.
Meanwhile, construction of a green space replacing the westbound lane of Gov. Trimble is set to come to a halt until a nearby two-story building is demolished, according to Hillsboro Public Works Superintendent Shawn Adkins.
Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Mel McKenzie said he is waiting on a schedule from the contractor hired to demolish what’s known as the Armintrout building adjacent to The Times-Gazette on Gov. Trimble. The building, owned by Mayor Drew Hastings, is blighted beyond repair, according to the mayor. Hastings has said a parking lot for tenants, including The Times-Gazette, will replace the building.
After the building has been taken down, crews will install new sidewalks, curbs, pavers, street lights, landscaping and other amenities along Trimble, according to Adkins.
McKenzie said crews are holding off on replacing sidewalks so no damage is done to new concrete during the building demolition. He said he will have a timeline for the project when the assigned contractor provides him with one.
As previously reported, the Trimble project – utilizing $78,000 in funds gifted to the city in 2013 by the William C. Mason Charitable Remainder Unitrust — will include freeing up parking on the south side of Trimble, much of which is now designated for county employees who work in the courthouse. McKenzie said reserved parking for those individuals, including judges and the county prosecutor, will be relocated to the west side of the courthouse.
McKenzie said the decision to reconfigure Trimble makes sense in connection with his belief that the old fire station at the corner of Trimble and North High will soon end up in the possession of the city as part of a deal with the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire Station for Paint Creek to purchase the new fire station on North East Street, which the fire district is occupying under a lease agreement.
McKenzie said the old fire station can be used as a much-needed meeting space for council committees, the planning commission and others. Those meetings are now being held in a small conference room at the city building or the municipal courtroom at the Highland County Justice Center, when those arrangements can be made. He said the city needs a facility for such meetings that is handicap accessible and large enough to accommodate members of the public.
He said the city could also lease the building to various groups and organizations for events.
Designating all the spots along Trimble for the public will allow more parking for people who attend committee meetings or other events at the old fire station, said McKenzie, as well as for customers of The Times-Gazette, which will be losing storefront customer parking due to the creation of the green space.
McKenzie said construction will begin soon on a fountain which will be installed on the southeast corner of the courthouse square at the intersection of High Street and Main Street, where the county’s flagpole currently sits.
The idea of a fountain for the courthouse square – other fountains have existed there in years past — has been discussed on and off for the past several years since Bob and Ann Bagshaw approached the city about donating one. The Bagshaws will provide funding for the fountain.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.