Gary Abernathy The Times-Gazette
January 2, 2014
The city of Hillsboro has received an anonymous donation of more than $78,000 from a “longtime” Hillsboro resident, with the donor asking that the money be used “for a special project to benefit the citizens of Hillsboro.”
The donor also specified in a letter that he would not want the money “to be used to pay accounts payable or any outstanding bills.” And he added, “The mayor shall have full discretion as to the direction of the funds.”
Mayor Drew Hastings said Thursday that while the anonymous benefactor specified that the mayor’s discretion should guide the expenditure of the funds, he plans to get council’s input and approval for how the money is ultimately spent.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t push for an idea he has been toying with for a couple of years – a park in the area of Gov. Trimble and Gov. Foraker streets, which wraps around the west and north side of the courthouse.
“I would like to adhere as much as I can to his wishes,” said Hastings on Thursday. “I don’t want the donation to go into a black hole just paying bills.” He said he discussed the park idea with the contributor.
“There are no gathering places uptown, outside, for people to meet – no benches, no tables,” said Hastings. He envisions a park area where people can order food at any of the uptown restaurants, and then enjoy a leisurely lunch or dinner in an attractive uptown outdoor setting, possibly with a fountain as part of the environs.
The mayor said that creating more parking uptown would also fit into the picture.
Hastings said Hillsboro benefits from having a clearly defined uptown area. “When you say to someone, meet me at the center of town, everyone knows where you’re talking about,” said Hastings, adding, “That’s an advantage we have over other towns, like Wilmington.”
Hastings said the donation reflects a confidence in the direction of the city. “It’s not as important what it ends up being used for as that it expresses a confidence that it’s going to be well-managed,” he said.
The donation was in the amount of $78,168.64, and is from an individual’s private charitable trust.
The letter states, “It is my wish that the funds be used for a special project to benefit the citizens of Hillsboro. I would not want the funds to be used to pay accounts payable or any outstanding bills. The mayor shall have full discretion as to the direction of the funds. Thank you for this consideration from an anonymous donor and longtime resident of the city of Hillsboro.”