City preparing to purchase 69.29 acres on S.R. 73


Hillsboro purchase would be for Roberts Lane, Fenner Avenue extensions

By John Hackley - [email protected]



Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha (left) and safety and service director Brianne Abbott are pictured at last week’s city council meeting.

Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha (left) and safety and service director Brianne Abbott are pictured at last week’s city council meeting.


John Hackley | The Times-Gazette

Hillsboro City Council members approved and adopted three resolutions and one ordinance during the monthly council meeting last Thursday.

Hillsboro Auditor Alex Butler briefed the council about securing funding for the planned purchase of a 69.29-acre property on S.R. 73. The property is being purchased to make way for an extension of Roberts Lane and Fenner Avenue. The bond is required not to be more than $2,020,000.

“Truest Bank came back with the best quote at 2.03 percent, so we are pursuing that opportunity,” said Butler. “We’re still not past the point of no return, but things are moving ahead.”

The city received $1,370 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) this month. “There was some unclaimed money, so they did a distribution across the state,” said Butler.

Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha provided an update about the city’s senior scholarship program. “It looks like the total donations that have come in so far are $2,500,” he said. “This year instead of $1,000, we decided to match dollar for dollar. We’re going to have $5,000 to put toward the scholarship for the seniors, and that’s pretty big for our local youth.”

Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Brianne Abbott reported the city issued 18 commercial building permits and 10 residential building permits in March. She said there are a number of ongoing economic development projects underway in the city. “Some of those include the Fenner Ridge Apartments, Marshalls department store, Buckeye Eye Clinic, Mimi’s Kitchen, the Patriot Public House, and the Marriott Hotel,” said Abbott. “McDonald’s on North High Street has begun demolition with plans to rebuild within 90 days — a quick turnaround.”

City officials have recently attended preconstruction meetings for the third phase of the city’s storm sewer project and tornado siren installation. Abbott said work is expected to begin this spring, and a bid opening for the northwest water line project will be April 29.

She also reported that opening day for the annual farmer’s market in Hillsboro will be May 21.

Abbott said the Hillsboro Planning Commission approved a certificate of appropriateness for 160 E. Main St. during a March meeting before turning the discussion over to Hillsboro Public Works Superintendent Shawn Adkins. Adkins reported a problem in a culvert by North High Street and Te-Mar Way. He said a contractor will begin repair work this week. “Hopefully, we won’t need to get underneath North High Street,” said Adkins.

Amanda Vance, treasurer of the Hillsboro Uptown Business Association (HUBA), spoke to city council about the need to fund the care of the flowers in the uptown area. “We do have an anonymous donor that has money for the flowers every year, but without someone to water the flowers and care for them, they are not willing to do that,” said Vance. Council President Tom Eichinger referred Vance to Abbott to discuss potential funding for the care of the flowers.

City Council Finance Committee Chair Mary Stanforth reported about a March 28 finance committee meeting concerning license fees for the different types of amusement devices in Hillsboro. The state Ohio defines three types of Skill Based Amusement Machines (SBAM). Type A machines are jukeboxes and arcade machines. Type B machines are stand-alone claw and crane machines that award prizes that don’t exceed a value of $10. Type C machines are any machines that are not type A or B and award tickets that can be redeemed elsewhere.

It was agreed at the meeting to propose an amendment to the ordinance to include a graduated fee scale of no fee for type A machines, $25 per machine for type B machines, and $50 per machine for type C machines. “It was also brought up that this is not a tax but a fee — an application fee — a flat fee across the board that is not based on income from the machines,” said Stanforth.

Council Utilities Chair Greg Maurer reported on recent committee meetings about proposed overage water rate increases by 3 percent planned to be introduced during the May city council meeting.

A resolution to transfer the premises at 301 E. South St. to the Community Improvement Corporation was approved and adopted at the council meeting. A resolution to amend two sections of the city code to provide limitations on extra-territorial water and sewer services was also approved and adopted.

Additionally, an ordinance vacating an unnamed alley next to O’Connell Street was approved and adopted.

The ordinance to amend the license fee associated with amusement devices in the city of Hillsboro was returned to a second reading after being modified.

A resolution authorizing and directing the mayor and safety and service director to enter into a joint partnership agreement with the Highland County commissioners for the Program Year 2022 Community Housing Impact & Preservation (CHIP) program to address housing needs was approved and adopted after suspending the three-reading rule.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

Hillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha (left) and safety and service director Brianne Abbott are pictured at last week’s city council meeting.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/04/web1_Council-pic.jpgHillsboro Mayor Justin Harsha (left) and safety and service director Brianne Abbott are pictured at last week’s city council meeting. John Hackley | The Times-Gazette
Hillsboro purchase would be for Roberts Lane, Fenner Avenue extensions

By John Hackley

[email protected]