Hillsboro takes aim at dilapidated properties
One house, two downtown buildings in council’s crosshairs
Hillsboro city council members drew a line in the sand Tuesday for owners of a dilapidated and unsafe house at 114 S. Birch St., giving them 45 days to make repairs or the city would take the matter into its own hands.
If work is not done within 45 days, the city will decide whether to make needed repairs or demolish the house.
“At the end of July, we set a public hearing for this time,” city administrator Matt Stiles said. “I had to go out and look at it. There’s really no change.”
Stiles said the structure was “basically abandoned.”
He spoke to a caretaker for the owner, but that made no difference, Stiles said.
“It’s in bad shape, that’s for sure,” Stiles said. “Somebody could remediate it if they wanted to spend the money. It is a two-story house.”
Mayor Lou Thurston read council members a message from David Zeller, who lives next to the property.
Zeller said he’d seen a couple of people mow the grass and occasionally seen someone enter to retrieve possessions.
“I would like to see this house get new people in it,” Zeller said.
He said if the house were repaired, it could make a home for a family or become a rental home.
County appraiser’s records show two listings for the property. One lists the owner’s name as Margaret Derksen and the other as Justina Derksen. The property is appraised at $24,960.
Two commercial properties are approaching their own formal hearings on conditions of the buildings
Council members set a Nov. 15 hearing for 101 S. Main St., which houses Panda Kitchen and formerly housed a Radio Shack store.
The county appraiser lists the property as belonging to Panda Properties Management with a mailing address of 4 Leonard Ct. in Hesston, and values the building at $127,750.
The last time council members discussed the property, it was thought the owner had returned to China.
A hearing was set for the same day for 122 W. Grand Ave., west of Dale’s Supermarket. A report from Security 1st Title indicates the property is owned by the Peggy L. Watson Living Trust and taxes are current. The appraiser values the property at $8,330.
Stiles said trees had been cut down since council members last reviewed the condition of the property.
“That doesn’t affect the property,” Stiles said. “The owner has been contacted. They’ve received multiple calls from (code enforcement officer) Doug (Dick). They are aware.”
Stiles updated council members on progress of a splash pad being built at Washington and Grand Ave.
“As of right now, we’ve spent $195,320.56 on the project,” Stiles said.
Donations for the project have totaled $164.591, and estimated remaining expenditures are $221,523.46.
Stiles said remaining costs would be paid by federal money targeted for community infrastructure.
Grant for food stores
Stiles said he was working on a state Department of Commerce SEED grant application.
Since the Commerce Department will give only one grant per county, he is collaborating with Peabody, Goessel, Tampa, Marion, and Tampa.
A specific funding area for the grant is rural grocery providers, so grocery stores in Peabody, Goessel, Tampa and Hillsboro are being consulted. Marion also is applying for funding for a mural.
The maximum grant is $50,000, and a 10% match is required.
As proposed, Hillsboro would get the grant and disperse money to the other towns.
Each town would have to make an agreement with the Commerce Department would be have to meet the terms of the grants.
“It is a great opportunity to partner as a county and enhance our grocery stores, which are vital to each community,” Stiles said.
In other business, Thurston read an email from Zeller about street conditions.
“I would like to know what the plan is for S. Birch St., as for the condition of the road.” Zeller wrote.
“To his comment, I would say that, as we know, money is an object,” Thurston said.
Thurston recommended having Darrin Neufeld of EBH Engineering draw up a priority list for the streets needing work. No formal vote was taken.