Though many of the city of Hillsboro’s projects were put on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the city is moving forward with several projects, including projects that will focus on improving the city’s parks, safety and service director Brianne Abbott told The Times-Gazette.
Abbott said the city will really focus on revitalizing the Railroad Street Park, and another project will connect Shaffer Park and Liberty Park with a pedestrian bridge.
“We’re going to start working really hard on our parks, and that kind of relates to the pedestrian bridge and improving the walkability to the parks from the downtown area. We are in the process of creating a parks committee to kind of spearhead that process,” Abbott said. “We’re going to have to do some fundraisers and get some volunteers for general cleanup. We want to focus on Railroad Street Park because it’s been empty for a while, so we want to bring that back to life and revitalize that area. That’s really going to be our main focus, but we have some ideas for the other parks as well.”
Those interested in volunteering with that project should attend the park committee meeting on July 28 at 6 p.m. Due to the level of interest the community has shown in revitalizing Hillsboro’s parks, Abbott said she expects the meeting will be held in the old firehouse, located at 108 Trimble Place, though it will be confirmed on the “City of Hillsboro, Ohio” Facebook page at a later date.
“We started the process of forming a park committee, I think back in February before everything hit, and we had to put it on hold,” Abbott said. “We had a little bit of interest from the community then — probably five or 10 people came to that meeting — but since COVID and being able to get the word out there more about the parks, I anticipate the next meeting to be much bigger than that. I think there’s a lot of interest in wanting to see our parks really prosper, so I think the citizens will really come together to help with that.”
Abbott said she and Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha have always had the goal of improving the city’s parks.
“Parks really draw families in, and it’s just a great aspect of the city, but then I think the community members have really gotten involved moreso, even after COVID, and I don’t know if that’s the reason or part of the reason, but we have had so many people reach out, wanting to either clean up the parks or raise money. It’s been heartwarming to hear that so many people want to get involved with that,” Abbott said. “We’ve had people volunteer to repair vandalism and clean up the parks. I had a guy who owns a tree care business call me. He saw that some of our trees in the downtown needed trimming and some other work, and he volunteered to do that. We had an individual volunteer to clean and sanitize the playgrounds before we opened them back up.
”On my end, I just want to thank the city and its citizens for doing all that and being so involved. It was heartwarming just to know that people noticed those things and care enough to make our city a better place. I know everyone here at the city appreciates those people. I wish I could name them all, but there have been so many over the past few months that I can’t. It’s been great.”
Abbott added that she believes city events like Pack the Park and the Hillsboro Farmers Market have helped bring the community together.
“[Lauren Walker] does a great job at organizing those events. I believe they’ve really brought a sense of community to Hillsboro. During our Pack the Park events on Thursdays, you see so many people in the downtown area, and the same way with the farmers market. We’ve got a lot of great new vendors, and a lot of people just really love that event and have been attending, and that’s really great to see. We’re really excited about that,” Abbott said. “I think they are [a lot of fun], and they give people something to look forward to. So much has been shut down or put on hold because of COVID, so when we’re able to do some of those events to bring the community together, it’s been nice.”
Pack the Park events take place every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Colony Park, located in the former Colony Theater space at 124 N. High St. The farmers market is held each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Gov. Trimble Place.
The city is also working toward other goals, Abbott said.
“Another goal in the upcoming months will be economic development, which again had to be on hold for a while, but we’re hoping to really hit the ground running and see some new businesses come in and do our part to help the city’s economic development,” Abbott said.
The city recently accepted bids for the Harry Sauner Roadway Improvement Project, which will bring roadwork to Harry Sauner Road in the near future.
Abbott said the city will also work toward repairing the roadway, storm sewer, curb and gutter on Spring Lake Avenue.
For more information and to stay up-to-date with the city’s events, like or follow the city’s main Facebook page, “City of Hillsboro, Ohio,” or the city’s events Facebook page, “City of Hillsboro Events,” which can also be found by searching “@HillsboroEvents.”
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.