An empty lot in the 100 block of West Main Street that was the former Parker Hotel site was transferred to the Hillsboro Area Economic Development Corporation after a unanimous vote at Tuesday’s Hillsboro City Council meeting.
“Now that the chain link fence is down on the property where the Parker Hotel came down, we would like to enter into an agreement with the Hillsboro Area Economic Development Corporation to try to market that and bring some business to town — something that will bring revenue to the city, and something to add to the downtown and make it more walk-able and a place where people want to come,” Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha said.
He said the city is looking to sell the property for $50,000.
“Our idea is if we can find somebody to buy it, we’d like to push the funds down to Gross-Feibel to help with cleanup down there. That’s going to be another big project and something that’s needed to happen for quite some time,” the mayor said.
He added that no one that has expressed interest in the buying the property, but also noted that it has not yet been offered for sale.
Three other empty lots in the same block — 115, 117 and 119 W. Main St. — have been surveyed, safety and service director Brianne Abbott said, with a tentative plan to sell the properties.
“We are in the process of getting all the signatures necessary to get that deeded over and schedule a closing. That should be happening very soon,” Abbott said.
She also noted that the city is still waiting for cost estimates for the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the proposed Marriott Hotel near Harry Sauner Road and SR 73 before the city can sign the final agreement with the hotel developers.
Abbott said the city has received more donations for Hillsboro’s parks, and that the city has been working to clean them up, including clearing railroad beds to create bicycle and walking paths.
Hillsboro Auditor Alex Butler told council income tax receipts are down a little from last year, but not as far as what had been anticipated. He said city general fund receipts are up $192,248 over a year ago, “so that is a nice surprise.” He said water and storm sewer receipts are also up, and that real estate tax receipts are up from $225,000 a year ago to $252,000 this year.
Butler also noted that Hillsboro received its third CARES Act check for approximately $236,000. He said the city has not decided how it will use the money.
In other matters, council heard the first reading of an ordinance dealing with mobile food vendors. Council president Tom Eichinger noted that council members Ann Morris and Dane Allard will have to abstain from voting on the ordinance. He said they have a conflict of interest because they own, or plan to own, restaurants in the uptown area.
Council’s street and safety committee, chaired by Adam Wilkin, has held several meetings on the topic prior to the legislation being presented to council.
“What we tried to do overall was kind of streamline it and isolate some things we thought maybe we could take out to make it more inviting for food trucks coming to town, while also serving the city at the same time,” Wilkin said. “I’m pretty happy with the legislation that came out. It seems narrowed down, easy to understand.”
Earlier in the meeting, Eichinger noted that council needed to elect a new president pro tempore. The position was previously held by Brandon Leeth, who recently resigned from council and was replaced by Mark Middleton.
Stanforth, Wilkin and Patty Day were all nominated for president pro tempore, to serve in Eichinger’s place if he is absent. Stanforth and Wilkin declined the position, and Day was elected.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.