The Hope City Board met Tuesday May 7th. The meeting began with a report from Steve Harris of the Hempstead County Economic Development Corporation. He noted the EDC recently had a request for information on a rail related project. He noted the city recently held a grant-signing for a grant which will add six new jobs at New Millenium. The grant will impact and improve the renovation on the rail spur project. Harris noted the stategic planning process is underway and the six committees have been chosen. He also talked about the “competitive community initiative” and that our highest ranking was in agri, forestry, fishing, and hunting. Harris discussed the recent program held at Hempstead Hall for 11th and 12th graders to acquaint them with career opportunities in Southwest Arkansas. He talked about site location partnership and mentioned a meeting coming up at the Lockesburg Training Facility. There was further discussion about the committees for the Strategic Plan and Harris noted 140 had signed up, more people could sign up, and the committees will meet on the Third Thursday from 5pm.to 8pm.
The board looked at requests from Rainbow of Challenges to use the Hub pavilion May 17th and to wave fees to use the Fair Park Coliseum October 29th through November 1st. The board discussed the fee waiver request and decided to table it until more can be learned about fee waivers.
The board looked at a request from the Police Department to apply for a STEP grant. The amount would be $27,000. The board approved allowing the police to apply for the grant which will pay for an officer for 660 hours for DWI,DUI, speeding,and safety seat patrols.
Mayor Steve Montgomery suggested the board vote to on the Rainbow of Challenges request to use the Hub Pavilion May 17th from 3pm to 6pm. There was confusion if a proposed motion waived the pavilion rental fees but the board ultimately approved the use of the pavilion and ROC paying the standard half-price for non-profits.
The board looked at applying for a “TAP” bid, a Transportation Alternatives Program available through the Arkansas Department of Transportation. Cities can apply for up to $500,000 with a 20% local match. The board looked at a proposal to apply to fund a street scape project that would connect downtown with the Clinton Birthplace National Historic Site on 2nd and connect to Elm from Division to 3rd. Board member Mark Ross indicated he’d like to see Second to Hazel and Shover as well to offer residents in that area an easier route to the new Courthouse. The board approved a resolution to show their intentions to apply for the grant..
The board looked at public works building window bids. Many of the original 1936 windows are still in use. The low bid was $15,800 from Lawrence Roofing, Windows,and Siding of Prescott. The board accepted the low bid.
The board looked at 1st quarter revenue and expense reports. There were several explanations on specific items. City Manager Catherine Cook said everything looked good so far for the year. The board discussed the swimming pool and it was noted it is being worked on and should open at the normal time. Board member Dr. Linda Clark asked about procedures for applying for life guard jobs. Cook said applicants should apply at the Fair Park office. No action was taken on the report.
The board looked at an audit resolution which allows the city to complete their audit with the standards prescribed by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. The board approved the resolution.
Under the City Manager’s report, Catherine Cook noted the new “welcome to downtown Hope” sign will be unveiled Thursday at 10am at Third and Walnut. Mayor Montgomery lauded Greg Wolf’s design and construction. Also under the City Manager’s report Cook noted the contractor on the rail spur project noted 4 feet of rain has been received since September on the project. Also, Cook requested a moratorium on weddings at the airport for the time being and that future requests come to the City Board. Cook noted the regular renters at the hangar had requested the moratorium. The board agreed to the moratorium by acclimation.
Under Citizens Requests Ida May Turner of 620 Glen Street. She said there is livestock owned by Timothy Young and it stinks. Ms. Turner and another neighbor, Loretta Jackson, noted the livestock frequently gets out and there is debris bordering the street. One resident says she’s afraid to come out of her house because she might be chased by an animal. City Manager Cook said code enforcement and animal control will check the area. Police Chief J.R. Wilson also talked about the “grandfathering in” of letting the residents keep livestock in the area when it was annexed into the city. Another resident said Mr. Young doesn’t have proper fences but uses surplus pallets as a fence. Chief Wilson assured the residents code enforcement will be out the next day.
Mark Ross asked about the fire department project and line items on rental revenue.
Board member Reginald Easter cited the overgrown grass and brush at the old KXAR building on North Hazel and also mentioned 1704 South Grady where there are old cars that need to be moved. Also Easter mentioned Beech and Hazel where a perpetual garage sale is underway. The meeting then adjourned.