Green area proposed in Hillsboro downtown district

Staff reporter

Hillsboro City Council gave a thumbs up to Hillsboro Tree Board at the March 18 meeting regarding plans for the development of an attractive downtown park.

Jonah Kliewer of the tree board told the council that the park would be located north of the U.S. Post Office on Main Street.

The purpose of the development, Kliewer said, was to make the downtown area more inviting for people coming into to town and to encourage shoppers and workers to use the park. Covered picnic areas also are planned.

In the grand scheme of planning, Kliewer would like for the downtown park to be a "kick off" point for a walking and biking trail. The trail could follow the former railroad bed.

Used brick could be utilized as part of the landscaping.

No name has been suggested by the tree board, Kliewer said.

Councilman Shane Marler asked who would construct the structures? Kliewer responded he wasn't sure but would probably rely on some volunteer labor, particularly those with desired skills to do such a project.

Mayor Delores Dalke showed her support of the project by commenting that she "loved downtown parks. It adds a lot to a downtown district to have a gathering place."

Marler said a walking trail was of interest to him and was surprised Hillsboro didn't have one. Councilmen Byron McCarty and Bob Watson said they, too, were in favor of the park and trail.

Kliewer said that Tabor College and Park Village have shown an interest in creating a trail.

Councilman Shelby Dirks asked if there were any concerns regarding future plans for the post office or security issues with another structure being located near it? Kliewer said the tree board had worked with the owner of the post office property and would check to make sure there weren't any other concerns.

The tree board also will check with other landowners.

Marler asked who would be responsible for maintenance of the park, particularly the brick? Kliewer said brick would be used to "highlight" areas of the park and not as a primary surface because of maintenance and safety issues.

With their voices of approval, members of the council instructed Kliewer to present cost estimates at a future meeting.