Hope City Board

The Hope City Board held their 2nd meeting of June Tuesday June 18th. After consideration of the minutes the board looked at a request for a sign variance at the Cairo-Fulton Depot which houses the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council. One sign will be a 4 x 8 and one is a 2 x 2. The building is currently zoned C-4 office commercial and the land development code allows one attached sign not exceeding 12 square feet. The variance was approved by P & Z but they felt since it is a city building that a decision should come from the City Board. The board approved the variance.

The board heard a presentation from the Hope Downtown Network on 3 proposed statues. The statues would represent an old-time train conductor, a mother, and a little girl. The little girl would represent Hope Loughborough whom after the town was named. Paul Ball spoke on behalf of Farmers Bank who would underwrite the cost. The artwork would be at 2nd and Elm. City Manager Catherine Cook noted the art work was inspired by a trip to Russellville where members of the Downtown Network were inspired by some work. Bob Erwin says they hope to unveil the statue at the Downtown Network’s Legacy Dinner in October. Board Member Mark Ross moved to accept Farmers Bank’s gift for the construction and to approve it being near the Hub Pavilion. Board member Trevor Coffee suggested the pavilion committee weigh-in on the placement. The board voted to accept the Farmers gift and to approve placement near the Hub.

The board heard from Jeremy Stone, professional engineer for the Hope Police Department. He showed drawings of the Hope Police Department’s proposed expansion. The estimated cost for the project is $365,000. The cost per square foot would be $175 for the 1,743 square foot addition. The $365,000 is the budgeted amount including furniture. The board voted to seek bids on the project.

The board looked at a proposed ordinance regarding collection of the city tourism tax. The ordinance would set procedures for enforcing the collection of the tax. This would include the businesses getting a permit to collect the tax and auditing of the business’s books. City Attorney Joe Short said this would include food trucks and such businesses not collecting the tax such as the Wal-Mart deli. There was also discussion that it we be collected by the street corner cooks who cook and sell prepared food in the city. The board agreed by acclimation to post the proposed ordinance on their website and to wait until a future meeting to act upon it.

The board considered an architectural contract with Trull-Hollensworth regarding plans for replacing the City Hall Roof. This could include removal/repair of the tile roof, replacement of the flat roof, repair/replacement of the decking, and the dollar amount the project may go to. It is estimated it could go to $200,000. Also, there are concerns there could be some small amounts of asbestos in the roof. Vice-Mayor Don Still asked about seeing options for the work and also talked about putting some pitch to the flat part. The board voted to enter into the contract with the architectural firm.

Under the City Manager’s report, Catherine Cook gave an update on a project to plant trees at the landfill. She said the wastewater contracts are mostly finished and much of the airport drainage project is finished. Cook also said the rail spur work is 80% done and should be finished by August. Cook noted the City Shop Yard and the Fair Park have been improved. She also said Laura Cowling has been hired at the park and Amber Collums has been hired for H.R. for the city. Vice-Mayor Still noted the new windows are in the public works building.

Board Member Mark Ross lauded the city’s attendance to the Municipal League this year. Board member Reggie Easter asked about the missing street signs and stop sign at the Fair Oaks edition. Easter also cited the overgrown status of the KXAR building at Hazel.and I-30. Dr. Trevor Coffee mentioned the tables under the Hub needing to be moved before the Farmers Market each week. The meeting then adjourned.