Demolition of the former Gross Feibel facility and the status of two other buildings in the uptown area were discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of Hillsboro City Council.
During his report to council, Mayor Drew Hastings said he talked with Evans Construction — the same company that took down three buildings on West Main Street recently — last week and received a bid of $135,000 to demolish the structures.
Hastings said the bid was lower than he anticipated, adding, “So that’s a really doable figure.”
The mayor said about $50,000 from the city’s revolving loan fund could be used to help fund the project.
Safety and Service Director Dick Donley said the estimate included taking the structures clear down to the ground and reseeding the property.
“It would be very attractive for somebody wanting to start a small business,” Donley said. “I think we can work that into the 2020 budget to get that eyesore out of the way.”
Earlier in his report, Hastings said he stopped by Hobart recently to see how things were going after there were talks some time ago about Hobart either closing the Hillsboro plant or one in South Carolina. He said that eventually the South Carolina plant was closed and some of its operations moved to Hillsboro.
“Things have been stabilized and Hobart is actually growing some, and that was nice to hear,” Hastings said.
In other matters, Donley said the three buildings that were taken down in the 100 block of West Main Street recently should be completely cleaned up once the weather breaks, although there are sidewalk repairs that will need to be made.
He said the city is also trying to obtain information on what it would take to make sure the wall of the building next to the eastern most of the buildings that were demolished is stable, and looks better than it currently does.
The safety and service director also said he believes the city needs to take a look at the wage scale for city employees because Hillsboro’s pay scale is lower than in city’s of comparable size.
Finance Committee Chairman Justin Harsha said the committee will look into the wage scales with the council’s Civil Service-Employee Relations Committee.
Property Maintenance and Restoration Committee Chairman Ann Morris said the committee has been looking into the legal ownership and eventual demolition of the Parker House, also in the 100 block of West Main Street. She said Evans Construction recently submitted a bid of $97,000 to demolish the building. But the courts still need to decided on the legal ownership of the building. The building is owned by Jack Hope and/or his family, who recently deeded it over to the city, but the city says it never agreed to take ownership.
Morris said the committee also discussed selling the former fire house building at the corner of North High Street and Gov. Trimble Place for $80,000. She said the title would be available for transfer in December of 2020.
Later in the meeting, Hastings said he wanted to commend Hillsboro Police Chief Eric Daniels and his officers for an increase in the number of speeding tickets issued in the city.
Along the same lines, Council President Tom Eichenger said he’d like to see more tickets for traffic light violations, particularly in the North High Street area around the post office.
Council tabled the first reading of Ordinance 2019-11 — “an ordiance to update Chapter 98 of the Hillsboro Code of Ordinances to reflect current technology regarding automatic alarm systems” — after council member Patty Day said it could cause elderly residents to be fined, up to as much as $100, if their security alarm accidentally goes off. She said that according to the legislation, 98 percent of the alarms the Hillsboro Police Department responds to are false. She requested more data about where the 98 percent figure comes from before council proceeds with the legislation.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.