Hillsboro: Leaning into the future

Bill Sims Contributing columnist

Bill Sims Contributing columnist

About this time of year in the world of Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge was surveying his past, present and with any luck, his future. It’s a good thing to do this time of year, especially with the onset of a new year. We all look forward hopefully and expectantly into the new year, and who could blame anyone after two years of fighting alien viruses.

But right now I’m in seasonably good cheer about what’s happening in our town of Hillsboro. I happened to be at this month’s city council meeting. When the city’s safety and service and director, Brianne Abbott, made her report to council, laying out the sum of the many business openings and development projects over the past year and projecting into 2022, I took notice. For a town the size of Hillsboro with its modest resources I have to say it was impressive. The town is leaning smartly into the future.

It’s been hard to miss the brand new sidewalk “belts” strapping our streets in the historical district, thanks to an ODOT grant, and the Pedestrian Bridge Project connecting Liberty Park to Shafer Park giving us walkability from downtown to Liberty Park/Harmony Lake.

But all the developments reported by the SSD may be one of those cases in which the whole is equal to more than the sum of all its parts. It’s impressive and eye-opening to put all the pieces together. Let me count the ways.

Foodies can rejoice. I can hardly wait to try out the amazing new restaurant, The Porch, on North West Street. Mimi’s Kitchen has taken over the former site of White’s Bakery and if you haven’t yet had the apple strudel at the new White’s Bakery you are seriously deprived. The Daily Grind, under new ownership, helps us start our “engines” every morning and beyond. Maplecrest Meats has opened on South High Street — check it out. And leaning into the new year, the Patriot Public House Restaurant is going to break ground early in 2022.

North High Street is now wearing three new marques. Dunham’s Sports just opened next to Rural King, as well as Burke’s Outlet, both just in time for last minute holiday shopping and Burke’s is near to the refurbished Highland Lanes and Alley Restaurant. Heading north down U.S. Route 62 is the amazing Magic Tunnel Car Wash. It’s almost like taking an amusement park ride.

What a blessing to have the beautiful new Goodwill Store on Harry Sauner Road, a great addition to our community. Heading west down Harry Sauner at Careytown Road, the new Marshall’s Department Store will begin construction this coming spring, right across the street from the pending Marriott Hotel.

Leaning again into the New Year the city has plans for greenspace on West Main (formerly the Highland Enterprise property). Work will begin on the Buckeye Eye Clinic in 2022, Full Spectrum Graphics will be coming soon to Beech Street, and the city is applying for funding to transform the former railroad beds owned by the city into a walking-bike path. More exercise? Hill City Endurance Fitness and Sports opened in August. All these “shiny new pennies” shouldn’t blind us to the incredible $3.2 million dollar infrastructure grant the city received for phase 3 of the storm sewer project, plus $30,000 for playground facilities at Harmony Lake and electric vehicle charging stations to be installed at the Colony Park parking lot. And you may have noticed that the new apartment complex excavation off Fenner Road is under way.

Of course, there’s never enough money for paving, but 2021 saw new skin on North East Street, Springlake Avenue and Northview Drive.

Finally, from a commercial development standpoint, the city has announced project planning for a commercial enterprise zone bounded by an extension of Roberts Road (east and south side of Kroger) south to Fenner Road east to the backside of Highland County Hospital.

Wow. It’s impressive. Kudos to the mayor, the city administration and the city council; and, proud to be living in this 1807 town leaning strong into the future. Now what were Ebenezer Scrooge’s parting words?

“A Merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world! (I think he meant Hillsboro)… and “God bless everyone!”

Bill Sims is a Hillsboro resident, retired president of the Denver Council on Foreign Relations, an author and runs a small farm in Berrysville with his wife. He is a former educator, executive and foundation president.

Bill Sims Contributing columnist
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2021/12/web1_Sims-Bill-mug-3.jpgBill Sims Contributing columnist