With plans firming up for a June 26 Hillsboro High School graduation ceremony, Hillsboro City Council declared the week of May 11 as “Senior Week” in Hillsboro at its meeting held remotely via Zoom Monday night.
Describing the school year as “non-traditional,” Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Brianne Abbott wrote in her report to council the intention to highlight and honor the class of 2020.
“We wanted to honor seniors as well as highlight local businesses by allowing businesses the opportunity to offer discounts and gift certificates to theclass of 2020,” Abbott wrote in her report to council. “The city of Hillsboro has also created a scholarship opportunity. For details, please visit www.hillsboroohio.net or call 937-393-8864.”
Mayor Justin Harsha echoed Abbott’s sentiments regarding Senior Week, adding that a program to both honor high school graduating seniors and showcase local businesses had recently been put into place.
Several local businesses have offered perks during senior week, he said, and any monetary donations will go toward a scholarship which the city has agreed to match up to $1,000.
“Tim Davis, Bree Abbott and I will work together this year on how to award the scholarship,” Harsha wrote. “We hope to continue this annually and will set up a committee to handle it in the future.”
Harsha reported that even though the pandemic continued to, “Bear down on us and has put a terrible burden on each and every one of us,” he felt Hillsboro and Highland County were fortunate when compared to other cities. He reported there had been no layoffs of city employees and split shifts continue to be the rule of the day, with plans to be formulated over the next month for re-opening the lobby of the city offices and getting everyone back to work.
Most city offices will remain on a split shift schedule with lobby closures continuing until further notice due to the COVID-10 pandemic.
“We don’t want to be back in a position where the state feels like they need to shut down again,” Harsha wrote with a cautionary tone in his report, “and we lose everything that has been accomplished.”
He said the city was continuing to closely monitor the pandemic situation, with officials engaging in local meetings with the Highland County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), working with Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner and reviewing new orders from the governor’s office.
Despite ongoing reports of event postponements and closings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Abbott said the return of the annual Hillsboro Farmers Market was still on for June. She said that at a recent Zoom meeting, it was decided Saturday, June 13 would be the kick off date for the annual market, with it being open every Saturday through October adjacent to the Highland County Courthouse.
The city will be looking into installing signs suggesting social distancing, considering limits on the number of people, and providing access to hand sanitizer much like what is present at the Highland County Fairgrounds, she said.
An offer to purchase the old BP station property at the intersection of West and West Main streets had been received by the Hillsboro Area Economic Development Corporation prior to a April 15 deadline, Abbott said, and the city was in the process of working out the details for the purchase.
Also Monday, 12 resolutions, mainly concerned with infrastructure and appropriations, were approved by council.
Council voted 7-0 on approving an ordinance to amend aspects of the zoning code and the zoning map concerning several land parcels related to the Marriott Hotel project that were either on or adjacent to Harry Sauner Road.
One other resolution of note passed by council would authorize the mayor to apply for funds under the Downtown Revitalization Program. Harsha described it as a “target of opportunity program,” that would allow the city to get funding assistance with building issues in Hillsboro’s downtown area.
Through a grant available via the county commissioner’s office, funding of up to $250,000 could be used to purge central business districts of slum and blight, with the goal being to enhance job opportunities for low and moderate income households.
The next Hillsboro City Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, June 8.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.