Leaders from a trio of community organizations said they met Tuesday with owners of local businesses impacted by the collapse of a building last month in the 100 block of West Main Street in Hillsboro.
“I was contacted by a couple uptown businesses to know if Highland County had any resources while their businesses were at a standstill,” said Tracy Evans, facilitator of Grow Highland County. “… It was just a sit down (with government officials) to give these owners some lines of assistance we can’t give them.”
Destiny Bryson, director of the Visitors Bureau of Highland County and Highland County Chamber of Commerce, said state Rep. Shane Wilkin was at the meeting along with representatives from state Senator Bob Peterson, U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup and Lt. Governor Mary Taylor’s offices.
Bryson said some that according to the some of the owners, patrons are afraid to enter some of the uptown buildings due to the collapse, barricades on West Main Street, and other issues.
She said the local organizations have little they can offer in the way of help, because the situation is unique and was not caused by a natural disaster. She said the next move seems to be in the hands of the company that insured the collapsed building.
Evans said some of the government representatives at the meeting did not have any immediate ideas, but were going to go back and see what they might be able to do.
Rhonda Fannin, director of workforce at Highland County Community Action Ohio Means Jobs, said she offered suggestions on how Community Action might be able to help, including training or possibly with employers who have a decreased workload.
“This is a very unique situation,” Fannin said. “Some of the normal services we would provide many not be available in this situation, but there may be ways we can help.”
She said she told the business owners they could contact her if they wanted more information.
Wilkin said he would “look under every nook and cranny he could” to help the business owners, but because the situation is so unique, he didn’t want to give them false hope.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.