Special Called Hope City Board Of Directors’ Meeting 3/28/17

By Staff, 03/30/17 3:54 PM

HOPE – A special called City Board of Directors meeting Tuesday night turned into a public forum for citizens’ dreams for the City’s future, including a “horseshoe tournament” and quieter trains.

City Attorney Joe Short began the meeting with a briefing on the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act and how it pertains to the Directors.

Next, City Manager Catherine Cook gave a brief rundown on current and ongoing City projects, including community pride/cleanup, continued wastewater rehabilitation projects, the Industrial Park rail spur and economic development.

But, it was ideas about downtown rehabilitation that most of the citizens seemed to be there for.

Opening discussion was about what could be done to keep our young people to stay here. There have been two incidents – at least – of well-qualified, young individuals who have left our area recently. Ideas offered included bike paths, crosswalks, more shops and restaurants downtown, alcohol and affordable housing. Mayor Steve Montgomery added bookstores and coffee shops; that Hope could, in effect, become a bedroom community for outlying towns. Director Mark Ross mentioned the popular idea of a multi-purpose center.

The discussion then turned to what is good about Hope and how far the City has come. The college campus, Hempstead Hall, the purchase of the Farmers Bank building by the county, the re-establishment of the Amtrak stop and the popularity of the Watermelons Festival and special events downtown, could not have been envisioned years ago.

Many spoke of the importance of a strong social media presence, including Bob Erwin, owner of the downtown business Bob’s Antiques, who stated that Mark Keith had recently worked on his store’s site and he had seen quite a bit of return from it. While Hope is online, many felt that it needed improvement.

After much discussion from both citizens and the board, Mayor Montgomery adjourned the meeting.


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