City purchases land off Southwest 229th for $5.4 million

The Hillsboro City Council July 15 unanimously approved the Parks and Recreation Department’s pending purchase of 20.54 acres in South Hillsboro for the future development of a community park.

“We need parks,” said Councilor Fred Nachtigal. “When I was a child we had one park in Hillsboro. As we grow we need places to get out, so I think it’s a great idea.”

The land, located in an empty field east of Southwest 229th Avenue, will be purchased over seven years for a total of $5,389,587. Initial payment for the purchase will be made via an inter-fund loan from the Hillsboro Building Department. As the park is developed, city planners hope to use revenue from system development charges (SDCs) to pay the rest of the way.

“We need to buy the land while it’s still available,” said Mary Loftin, community resources manager for HPRD. “Then as builders come in they will have to pay a fee to the city for the extension of public services to their areas.

“Those SDCs are part of how we’ll pay for the purchase.”

The purchase is a part of the South Hillsboro Master Plan, a project run by the Planning Department, HPRD and the Hillsboro School District. According to the city’s website, the goal of the plan is to develop an 11,000-home community in South Hillsboro, complete with new schools, businesses, town centers and 333 acres of “natural areas” dedicated to open space and recreation.

Once complete, those natural areas will comprise more than 20 percent of the land area in the new community.

“Our planning ensures that this South Hillsboro neighborhood will have all of the amenities that future residents will expect for generations to come,” said Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey. “Purchasing park space now, rather than waiting until land values rise in the future, provides us the best deal possible.”

However, since no contract has yet been signed, city officials declined to identify the seller. “All the council has done is approve the purchase sale agreement,” said Loftin. “We still have to do the closing process, just like buying a house.”

The fact that no contract has been signed also means that city planners haven’t made a master plan for the park. “We don’t know what we’re going to build there yet,” said Loftin. “But we can assume there will be a playground.”

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