Hope City Board

The Hope City Board met Tuesday January 21st. Following the approval of the minutes, a public hearing was convened concerning the Arkansas Economic Development grant for New Millennium. The grant assisted in the renovation of the city rail spur. City Manager Catherine Cook recapped the project and then the board meeting reconvened.

The board went into executive session at 7:04pm to discuss appointments to the Water and Light Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission, and Tourism Commission. The meeting reconvened at 7:15pm. Dr. LaDell Douglas was reappointed to a five year term on the Water and Light Commission. Doodle Franklin and Kiffenea Talley were reappointed to three year terms on the Planning and Zoning Commission. George Straughter’s term was up and he asked not to be reappointed. Cindy Ford was appointed to that three year term. Dr. Don Freel was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Mitch Bobo who has moved outside of Hope. Babu Patel was reappointed to the Tourism Commission for a four year term and Dr. Trevor Coffee was also reappointed to a one-year term on the Tourism Commission. Also, a slate of members was appointed to the Beautification Committee.

The board heard from Janet Choate of Relay for Life. They are asking to hold the Relay downtown this year on Friday April 24th. They want to close 2nd Street from Elm to Walnut from 4pm to 11pm. The group wants to utilize the Hub and to replicate the atmosphere of the old Watermelon Festival Street Dances. The survivor banquet will be held at the Chamber of Commerce. The board voted to approve the closure pending the notification of the businesses in that area.

The board heard a request from the Hempstead County Economic Development Corporation. The EDC is working with a prospect that wants to purchase six acres of property near Hexion. They are also interested in additional property between this parcel and the railroad spur. Any sale would have to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. The company is an international company and this would be their first North American plant. The company would employ fifty workers at an average wage of $25 per hour. There was concern about whether the FAA would allow for the sale. The board voted to get an appraisal for the total fifteen acres involved and the City Manager will begin working with the FAA to attempt to get the purchase approved.

The board looked at garbage bag bids. The low bid for a half-million bags was Houston Poly’s bid of $39,405. The board approved that bid.

The board looked at an amendment to the the jail agreement between the city and county. This agreement just reflects the city’s construction of additional office space for the police department. City Attorney Joe Short says the agreement approves the city’s construction and occupancy of the new addition. The board approved the revised document.

Under the City Manager’s report, Catherine Cook noted statements of financial interests from board and Commission members need to be turned in and notarized. Cook also noted there will be a Chamber Coffee on Wednesday hosted by the city to honor Paul Henley and Charles Martin on their retirement from the city. Cook also noted there will be a dedication at 11am by the Arts Council for the Heritage Wall at the Depot VIC.

Vice-Mayor Don Still noted the Klipsch Foundation has scheduled a concert for the weekend of the Jonquil Festival. Still also noted the Klipsch Foundation needs some volunteers. The meeting then adjourned