FRS Transportation hopes to have public transit routes back up and running in May, representatives said at Monday’s Hillsboro City Council meeting.
Damon Lucas, FRS Transportation director, said public transportation routes originated last March, but lasted just three weeks before they were shut down by COVID-19.
When the routes are re-established, Lucas said there will be two loops around Hillsboro running in opposite directions, Monday through Friday to begin with, and one loop in Greenfield. In Hillsboro, he said, there will be 21 stops starting at the Highland County Senior Citizen Center on Muntz Street.
Lucas said the service could be expanded later. He was asked if there would be signage marking the stops.
“We’re not putting up any signage yet until we know the routes are going to work,” Lucas said.
FRS Transportation currently runs a demand-response service in Highland County, but loops have been down since the pandemic started. Lucas previously told The Times-Gazette that the loops will run a bit differently when they reopen.
FRS Transportation offers the demand-response service for varying prices depending on how far the person is from the city. Those prices are: $1 to travel inside city limits, $2 to travel up to 10 miles outside city limits and $3 to travel more than 10 miles outside city limits.
Currently, fares must be paid in cash, but Joe Adray, FRS Highland County mobility manager, said that is something currently being looked at. People need to call, usually at least 24 hours before they need the service, but FRS also offers a subscription model that automatically schedules people so they don’t need to call every time.
Lucas told council that recently FRS has been transporting 57 people to work in Hillsboro daily.
“It’s been a huge asset to the people of the city,” Lucas told council.
In his report to council, mayor Justin Harsha said the city hopes to continue a scholarship program for Hillsboro High School seniors it started a year ago. He said the city received $2,000 in donations for the scholarships last year and the city added $1,000. He said anyone interested in contributing to the scholarships should contact the City Building.
The mayor said work has started on an 18-hole disc golf course at Liberty Park, and that a pedestrian bridge connecting Liberty Park and Shaffer Park has been placed. He added that around the middle of next month the city hopes to have a trail paved leading from center of town to the parks.
Harsha said the city also plans to pave the main parking lot at Shaffer Park, the road leading back to the softball area, and the parking lot near the softball fields.
The city plans to resurface the tennis courts at the Railroad Street Park to turn it into an area for kids to play and also plans to add grilling locations at the park, Harsha said, adding that the city is planning another paving project on Northview Drive from High Street to the first stop sign.
In other business, council voted to approve an ordinance transferring four properties — the former firehouse at the corner of Governor Trimble Place and North High Street, 115 and 119 W. Main St., and 264 W. Walnut St. — to the Hillsboro Improvement Corporation.
“The two properties in the downtown area will obviously be marked for downtown development purposes, and the funds gained from those sales would then be utilized for additional economic development. The Walnut Street property is a residential property that we would put up for sale, and the remaining funds would also be utilized for economic development,” safety and service director Brianne Abbott said.
Steven Rivera, the city’s building inspector, and Lauren Walker, the city’s code enforcement officer, also addressed council. Riveria said the city’s current building ordinances were adopted in 1970. He said some have been updated and others have not, and asked council to adopt the International Property Maintenance Code.
Council unanimously voted to adopt an ordinance approving the code.
Another ordinance changing the zoning classification of parcels from Business C to Residential B on North West Street was also aunanimously approved by council.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.