Pictured at the Scott House meeting on July 9 are (l-r) Hillsboro City Councilman Justin Harsha, James Chambers of Jimbo's Auto Repair and Tracy Evans, executive director of Grow! Highland County. (HCP photos by Mickey Parrott.)
Pictured at the Scott House meeting on July 9 are (l-r) Hillsboro City Councilman Justin Harsha, James Chambers of Jimbo's Auto Repair and Tracy Evans, executive director of Grow! Highland County. (HCP photos by Mickey Parrott.)
By Mickey Parrott and Rory Ryan
The Highland County Press


Ohio State Rep. Shane Wilkin, R-Hillsboro, helped facilitate a meeting of Hillsboro business and property owners with concerns over the Hillsboro building inspector Tuesday, July 9 at the Scott House.

Wilkin, Highland County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Destiny Bryson, Grow! Highland County Executive Director Tracy Evans and representatives from state and federal officeholders were present. Several business and/or property owners attended the meeting and shared their frustrations with the city.

The meeting focused on the recent inspections and some comments made by Hillsboro building inspector Anton Weissman. Also discussed were issues related to the partial closure of West Main Street in uptown Hillsboro and the cleanup of the former Fettro building at 119 West Main.

Jeretta Barr, co-owner of Momma’s West Main Cafe, said she was told by the city in April that her building (then owned by Jack Hope) would fall down within six months, and the city would no longer provide revolving loan money to the business.

Barr said the mayor offered to help relocate the restaurant inside the Bell’s Opera House on South High Street. According to Barr, six different structural engineers have said the West Main Street building that housed her restaurant is sound and safe. The Barrs (Jeretta and Bobbie, who co-own the restaurant) told The Highland County Press on April 29 that they had an inspection of the building, and it was found to be structurally sound.

Helen Walton, who owns the property adjacent to the partially collapsed Fettro building, said the city still has not contacted her. Several property owners shared similar stories.

James Chambers, owner of Jimbo's Auto Repair on South High Street, shared a story in which he alleges that Weissman informed him that the Ohio Department of Transportation had an issue with a truck parked on his property.

Chambers said when he contacted ODOT, he was told the department had not contacted the city.

Another property owner told The Highland County Press that Weissman said AEP had contacted him about an electrical issue. The property owner said AEP denied contacting the city.

Those represented at Tuesday's meeting included Second District Congressman Brad Wenstrup, Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Ohio Sen. Bob Peterson and the Ohio State University business development department. Hillsboro city councilman and local business owner Justin Harsha also attended the meeting.

“This was the most productive meeting I’ve been to for uptown Hillsboro,” Lisa Leeth, owner of Details Salon and Day Spa, told The Highland County Press.

Leeth thanked Wilkin for helping to put the meeting together and encouraging other state officials to attend.

“I felt like people were starting to listen and understand what we’re going through,” said Rachelle Trefz, owner of Merle Norman Cosmetics Studio in uptown Hillsboro.

According to Trefz, Bryn Stepp, Southeast Regional Liaison for Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, asked several questions and said it was something that perhaps could be discussed with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

Also Tuesday, a hearing in a civil case between the city of Hillsboro and the owners of the partially collapsed building at 119 W. Main St. in uptown Hillsboro – as well as other “interested parties” – was held in Hillsboro Municipal Court Tuesday, July 9.

Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge David H. McKenna said he would continue the case until July 23 at 10 a.m., at which point he will “get another report from the emergency receiver, Mr. (Mel) McKenzie (Hillsboro safety and service director).”

Related story:

https://highlandcountypress.com/Content/In-The-News/In-The-News/Article/Civil-case-between-city-of-Hillsboro-uptown-property-owners-continued/2/20/51383