The Hope City Board met Tuesday November 5th for their first meeting of November.
The board discussed a request from the Hope Downtown Network for the development of a pocket park on the site of the old Dox building. City Manager Catherine Cook said the city has received an email from Tena Pilkinton Carter offering to give the old Dox property to the city in return for the city removing the lien of approximately $37,000 against the property. Bob Erwin spoke to the board about it. He said he’d like to see the project spearheaded by the Downtown Network. Also on hand were Barbara Noble of the Downtown Network and Micki Curtis of the Hope Jr. Auxiliary. Both were in support of the project. Mayor Steve Montgomery asked if Erwin anticipated getting a professional architect. He told the Mayor that he said intends to check with Main Street Arkansas on the possibility of getting some free architectural services. Erwin says the Downtown Network had been able to achieve a lot in the past two and a half years and he wants the Downtown Network to use their funds they’ve raised in recent years. Board member Kiffenea Talley said she was for a pocket park but she was opposed to forgiving the lien as the family let the building deteriorate. Erwin said his wife has applied for a $25,000 grant. Board member Mark Ross said that property was allowed to rundown by a family member who is no longer in charge if the property and the family member in charge has been improving their property. Talley said the city doesn’t forgive liens on non-downtown property and while she could agree to a partial forgiveness she couldn’t see a total forgiveness of the lien just because it’s downtown. City Attorney Joe Short said it could be foreclosed upon and sold at public auction on the courthouse steps. Short said such a procedure would take around 8 months. Talley suggested the city contact Carter. It was agreed that the City Manager will pursue getting the property appraised.
Under the City Manager’s report, Catherine Cook noted there will be a ribbon-cutting at 5pm Wednesday for the city rail spur in Highway 32 at Oakhaven to be followed by the annual Economic Development Corporation meeting at the airport.
The new red trash can at Hazel and 2nd was discussed.
Cook talked about requests from citizens to rename two blocks of Spruce after the late Eleck Walker. She said this request will go first to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The city heard from the city’s census representative. Cook noted how the city will work with the Census and discussed a possible billboard.
Cook noted a budget will be discussed probably in early December. She also lauded everyone who helped in the city facilities tour.
The stop by the”Big Boy” steam engine on November 12th was discussed. The work by Police Chied J.R. Wilson was discussed.
City Manager Catherine Cook thanked Chief Wilson and all the city employees for their efforts while she was out during her husband Jeff’s surgery and passing. She said their efforts allowed her to spend important time with her husband. She lauded the dedication of the city employees. Board member Mark Ross noted the efforts several years ago to make sure each department had a backup plan and a person to be in charge in case a department head was out of commission has worked well in several instances lately. It was also noted Fire Chief Dale Glanton is returning to work after being off for medical treatment. The meeting then adjourned.