The city of Hillsboro Parks Committee met for the first time on Tuesday to gauge community interest and begin forming the committee as well as subcommittees for specific projects, Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Brianne Abbott told The Times-Gazette.
City officials and community members discussed plans and ideas for Hillsboro’s parks, including Railroad St. Park and Liberty Park, Abbott said.
“It’s great to see so many people who want to get involved,” Abbott said. “Parks really draw families to our area and really add a lot of value to our community, so I think getting some of these projects going in our parks will really be beneficial for Hillsboro.”
Between the city’s plans and suggestions from the Hillsboro community, Abbott said the hope to do the following in each park:
Railroad St. Park
“Railroad St. Park seems to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds,” Abbott said. “[We’re looking at] an overall cleanup of that park, which we’ve already began. Some groups have already volunteered to do that. The city has already acquired some benches, tables, chairs, trash cans, picnic tables — things like that — which we need to install. We want to raise money to install some new playground equipment; the restroom needs to be updated.”
Abbott said city officials are also discussing adding a pump track for bikes, roller blades and skateboards where the basketball courts are currently located.
“I think the idea behind it is that the momentum you get from the initial hill, so to speak, would take you through the entire track,” Abbott said. “It’s a pretty neat thing. I think if we can get it going, we’d see a lot of interest in that.”
Abbott said the city will be adding a butterfly garden near Harmony Lake, a stipulation of past grants. The city also hopes to add small playground equipment.
She added that the community garden, which the city was unable to offer this year due to the coronavirus, will return in 2021.
At the meeting, city officials and community members also discussed the possibility of adding basketball courts and a disc golf course and making Liberty Park’s existing trails more accessible to mountain bikes. Community members expressed interest in establishing sports leagues, such as softball and volleyball leagues, for adults at Liberty Park.
Throughout the city
Abbott said city officials are turning their attention to abandoned railroad beds that run throughout the city.
“We want to talk about converting those into a walking and bike path,” Abbott said.
Around 30 community members signed up to volunteer and serve on the committee and subcommittees.
Those who were unable to attend the meeting but would like to participate should call the city at 937-393-5219 to sign up, Abbott said.
The city and community members are brainstorming ideas for fundraising events, which would help raise money for the city’s parks.
“The city is, unfortunately, not at a place where we can afford to fund a lot of these projects, especially with the coronavirus and everything else that has been happening in the world,” Abbott said. “We just brainstormed some ideas where we can raise some money to get some of these items accomplished.”
Though the city is still in the early stages of planning such fundraising events, Abbott said one event is already planned: a community cookout, organized by the Unity Society, will be held at Liberty Park on Saturday, Aug. 29 from 4-9:30 p.m. Proceeds from the cookout will go towards revitalizing Railroad St. Park.
“I think there’s a lot of momentum right now, so we just really want to take advantage of that,” Abbott said. “We’re going to move as quickly as we can on it.”
At press time, the city had not scheduled the next parks committee meeting, but Abbott speculated that there will be a meeting in August. The public is welcome to attend.
To stay up-to-date with the city of Hillsboro’s committee and subcommittee meetings, like or follow the “City of Hillsboro, Ohio” Facebook page, or visit www.hillsboroohio.net to view the city’s calendar of events.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.