What are the five biggest things planned for 2017? We asked city officials

New water system, renewing the tax levy and South Hillsboro construction will all be on the city’s radar next year.

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Hillsboro city officials are preparing for 2017, and a new slate of projects on the horizon will require more of a commitment than most New Year’s resolutions if they’re going to be launched next year.

As work continues on construction in South Hillsboro, city officials are setting their sights on several other projects in the next several months, according to city spokeswoman Corinne Weiss.

“Success to us means working together (with residents and area businesses),” Weiss said. “This coming year we have many great opportunities, and of course some challenges, but we will work to maintain excellent services and plan for a bright future for Hillsboro.”

One of the most important initiatives is convincing voters to renew the city’s longstanding local option tax, which is set to expire in 2018. The tax helps pay for police and fire department services and the city’s parks department.

If the city council follows through with city staff’s Dec. 6 recommendation, residents could vote on the tax renewal as early as May 2017.

In the city’s water department, a years-long plan to build a shared water system with Tualatin Valley Water will continue, as crews work to build the Willamette Water Supply Program pipeline, which will draw water from Wilsonville and pump it to Hillsboro.

Project officials anticipate construction at the intersection of Cornelius Pass Road and the Tualatin Valley Highway to begin in the early part of 2017.

A large portion of the 30-mile pipeline will pass through the South Hillsboro development as well, which will also see more construction throughout the year.

Colin Cooper, the city’s planning director, said 2017 will be about tying together community aspirations and the city’s plans.

“A significant focus (of the year) will be on improving mobility and a balance of housing options for community members,” Cooper said.

Some of that work will focus on the continued revitalization of downtown Hillsboro and the future of the former Hank’s Thriftway property, which the city acquired earlier this month. No plans have yet to be announced for the property, but the city is said to be looking at a mix of residential and commercial uses for the site.

The New Year will also mark a new chapter for community areas for leisure, play and relaxation.

“One of the best things about living or working in Hillsboro is our great quality of life, of course made even better by all our fantastic parks, trails and natural areas, fun recreational programs and a healthy and growing arts and culture scene,” said Parks & Recreation Director Dave Miletich. “In 2017, we will continue to offer great things, and new plans include opening the Orenco Woods Nature Park, developing a plan for the city-wide Crescent Park Greenway and creating a Community Cultural Arts Strategic Plan.”

While the Orenco Woods Nature Park will open in February, the Crescent Park Greenway is still in the planning stages.

Envisioned as a natural greenway loop, wrapping 16 miles around the city, Crescent Park will be a collection of natural areas, parks and trailheads connected by “linear greenspace,” Weiss said.

To help inform the plan’s details, city officials throughout the year will invite residents to community events to view content developed by city staff and note areas of interest.

“Proactive outreach and communication are essential to our ability to deliver great services to the community and to plan innovative, effective solutions to challenges we face as a growing community,” Weiss said.

Part of that outreach includes continuing to build on the city’s commitment to its youth, Weiss said.

“From providing School Resource Officers, to maintaining the sports fields at our high schools, to partnering on safe routes to schools, to helping support (Hillsboro School District) events and programs, such as the College and Career Pathways Program, the city remains committed to working together to give our students the best chance for success,” Weiss said, also noting the community events put on by the city, such as Celebrate Hillsboro, Pix on the Plaza, and OrenKoFest.

“In 2017, we will build on our efforts to engage with our diverse residents, partners, and businesses in creative ways, so that the Hillsboro community can continue to grow great things together.”

Read original article in the Hillsboro Tribune