The city of Hillsboro is continuing forward with its parks projects and economic development plans, including finalizing plans for the Marriott Hotel project and putting the former Parker Hotel lot up for sale, safety and service director Brianne Abbott told The Times-Gazette.
The city received cost estimates for the Marriott project from the developers this month. As of Tuesday, Abbott said the city’s tax increment financing (TIF) attorney, Richard Spoor, is preparing an agreement for the infrastructure project that will begin construction for the hotel.
The multi-million dollar development will be situated on currently vacant land approaching the intersection of North West Street, SR 73 and Harry Sauner Road. At a developers’ meeting in late December, developers said they expected to break ground in spring 2020. Ankur Patel, one of the developers, estimated that the project will take 12 to 14 months to complete.
As of December 2019, Patel said the plans for the hotel included 83 rooms and a connected retail plaza, which Patel expected to cover 30,000 square feet and which could comprise a bank, five or six restaurants, second-floor office space, and a sports bar that could include a dance floor.
Though Patel said he and other developers considered including known chains such as Panera Bread and Starbucks in the development, they also want to support local entrepreneurs.
Patel estimated that between the hotel and the retail plaza, the development will bring 100 jobs to Hillsboro.
Discussion of bringing a hotel to Hillsboro began in 2016, when then-mayor Drew Hastings announced he was having a feasibility study conducted to determine “whether our market will support a new hotel complex and thus encourage developer investment.”
Former mayor Hastings described TIF financing as a package a city would put together to help with the infrastructure on a project such as the construction of curbs, gutters, sewer, water runoffs, retention ponds, lighting and anything else “that has to do with the surface or subsurface of the project.”
In October 2019, the Hillsboro Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the TIF compensation agreement with the city. Hillsboro City Schools Treasurer Ben Teeters said at that time that the agreement was for 25 years.
Last December, the Hillsboro City Council adopted an ordinance providing for the issuance of $3 million in bonds that will help get construction started on the hotel.
The bonds, Spoor said at the December meeting, won’t be a liability of the city or citizens, but will instead be paid for by the property taxes produced by the development.
The hotel project is not the only economic development project in Hillsboro.
According to Abbott, the former Parker Hotel lot and the old firehouse on Governor Trimble Place will be for sale in the near future.
“The city is transferring the deed to the Hillsboro Area Economic Development Corporation to market that property to a potential business,” Abbott said.
The minimum bid on the former Parker Hotel property will be $50,000.
Though the city is still working to finalize details, the old firehouse property will also be marketed to potential businesses.
According to Abbott, these potential business owners must have business and development plans.
In the last few months, the city created an economic development department headed by Kirby Ellison and Lauren Walker, who will focus on both bringing in and retaining businesses by connecting potential and existing business owners with funding and other resources. The department will also help promote these businesses.
Abbott encouraged local business owners to apply for the Small Business Relief Grant, which is available through the state.
“I just encourage any local small business in the city to look into that and to call me or our economic development team, and we’ll walk you through how to do that,” Abbott said. “That could be a great opportunity.”
Those interested may also find information at businesshelp.ohio.gov. Reach the city of Hillsboro at 937-393-5219.
The city will also continue moving forward with its parks projects this winter, Abbott said.
“I’m really proud of the committee we created,” Abbott said. “These are all volunteers, and they’re really making things happen for the parks that wouldn’t happen otherwise just because of lack of funding or lack of manpower. It’s amazing what the committee has already done in just a few months’ time.”
In addition to applying for additional grants to transform some of the city’s old railroad beds into walking paths, city employees and subcommittee members hope to be able to install disc golf baskets in Liberty Park this winter.
Though the disc golf subcommittee still has to raise some funding, Abbott said the subcommittee has almost met its fundraising goal.
“You can tell they really want it,” Abbott said. “They have put in the work and done the fundraising necessary, so the city’s just trying to help facilitate that and get that going for them.”
The garden subcommittee is also working to finalize plans for a community garden, which will be located near Harmony Lake in the spring. The garden subcommittee has already begun work on a butterfly garden and a flag mural made from flowers, which are also located at Harmony Lake.
Abbott speculated that city employees and committee members will also be able to continue work on Railroad Street Park during the winter.
Parks committee meetings are held at the old firehouse on Governor Trimble Place on the third Tuesday of every month at 5 p.m.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.