Progress on the fate of the Parker House has took a turn for the worse, but headway is being made on a couple other West Main Street structures, officials said at Monday’s Hillsboro City Council meeting.
Mayor Drew Hasting told council the Parker House saga recently “took a turn for the weird.”
He said that after the city withdrew from discussions to take possession of the structure from the Jack Hope family, which owns the building, members of the family had a deed for the building prepared and signed it over the city, without discussing it with city officials.
“I have a feeling we’ll be in court for this,” Hastings said.
But, progress is being made elsewhere in the 100 block of West Main Street, Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Dick Donley said.
“I am trying to get Momma’s (West Main Cafe) back open and trying to get some parking spaces open for them,” Donley said.
He said he believes the city is close to reaching a deal to reopen the popular restaurant that was shut down after a city building inspector who has since been fired ruled the building that housed it uninhabitable.
Donley said he met last week with the owners of buildings, inspectors, engineers and others and was happy with the way things were working out. He also met last week with two Cincinnati companies that submitted bids for the demolition of three buildings at 115, 117 and 119 W. Main St. — the addresses for the former Slow ‘n Low restaurant building, an adjacent structure owned by Helen Walton and Joe Mahan, and a partially collapsed building owned by the J. Steven Fettro family.
“I’ve been very happy talking with the owners of the properties … and I hope to get Momma’s going pretty soon, so that’s exciting,” Donley said.
Momma’s Cafe was located at 131 W. Main St.
Donley said the owner of the Slow ‘n Low building seems receptive to a quit claim deed to turn the building over to the city. He said that while some barricades on West Main Street may be moved, they will likely have to remain up around the Parker House for the foreseeable future.
He said contractors interested in demolishing the three West Main Street buildings have also considered doing some of the work for a fountain being financed by the Bagshaw family that will be located on southeast corner of the Highland County Courthouse square.
Hastings said the same contractors looked at the Gross Feibel buildings on Elm Street and that the city is awaiting bids that should come in this week for demolition of the buildings.
The mayor further said the Hillsboro Community Improvement Corporation has concluded the purchase of a former BP station on West Main Street and that the property will be offered for purchase in the near future. He said the CIC would want to see a plan for its future use from anyone interested in buying the property.
A group of area residents have approached several Highland County officials recently, Hastings said, with concerns about contaminants in the city and county water supply.
The reason for their concern is a high incidence of leukemia cases around the county.
Hastings said he talked with Hillsboro Water Plant Superintendent Jason Bernard, who informed him there are no issues with the city’s water quality. The mayor said Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner echoed those sentiments.
Bernard said that anyone with questions about the Hillsboro water supply can contact him any day at the water plant.
“There’s no concern. The water is a good supply. Everything is really good,” Bernard said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.