Hope Tourism Commission

By Staff, 06/30/20 6:02 PM

The Hope Tourism Commission met Tuesday via Zoom.  Following the approval of the minutes, revenue, and expenses the Commission delved into looking at updates on the permits for those who collect the “hospitality” tax.

Hope City Manager Catherine Cook said there was only one business who is significantly behind on paying their hospitality tax and that is Angelo’s on Main Street.  Cook said they had sent a letter to the restaurant.  Dr. Trevor Coffee asked if that was an “intent to revoke” letter.  Cook said it was.  The Commission voted revoke Angelo’s permit.  The city will send the restaurant a letter and let them know their permit is revoked and they can no longer do business in Hope.  The restaurant can reopen if they pay the delinquent tax plus the penalty for being delinquent.  The penalty will be 5% of what is owed each month.

Bob Erwin and Beckie Moore represented the Hope Downtown Network at the meeting.  Erwin gave a recap of the Downtown Network’s activities.  These activities include painting the light poles, purchasing and placing trash receptacles, benches, and handrails.  Erwin also noted they had painted the front of the Capitol Hotel building as well as 117 South Elm.  Most recently they partnered with the Tourism Commission to purchase downtown banners.  Erwin then made a case for adding some more downtown murals.  He noted they encourage people to take photos and to share the community’s story.  He also noted some recent activity he saw when a family interacted with the “All Aboard” mural at the Hub.  Erwin displayed a “welcome” mural from Mississippi.   He named several sites they Downtown Network had identified as possible sites Barry’s, the Chamber building, Studio 124, Beards & Shears, SWS Engraving, Western Auto, Four States Furniture, and Tailgaters.  Erwin said they wanted to use an experienced mural painter and he mentioned Art Pletcher from Texarkana who painted the mural at 113 South Elm.  Sharon Caldwell said she had been watching the murals in Texarkana and noticed a lot of folks downtown taking pictures there.  Erwin said the Downtown Network might take a couple of field trips to other towns to learn about their murals.  Erwin showed some examples of murals in other towns.  Erwin said the Downtown Network is asking for $10,000 to go towards two murals.  Mayor Steve Montgomery said he thinks this would be a good investment and cited his fascination with the murals in Magnolia.  The Mayor said it would boost the arts too.  He asked Erwin about the cost of the mural on his building and Erwin said he thinks it cost $2,500.  Erwin had the wall prepped and ready.  Also, there was discussion on how to choose the sites for the murals and Erwin said the Downtown Network would like some outside help on choosing sites.  Erwin talked about getting bids for the murals.  Dr. Trevor Coffee asked if the $10,000 the Commission had voted to contribute to the Watermelon Festival might be used.  There was discussion on whether or not to pay an artist to provide a rendering of what they would envision as a mural.  The Commission voted to contribute $10,000 to the murals.  Dr. Coffee asked if the Downtown Network was contributing money for the murals and Erwin reported that they have committed their money to the development of the pocket park on the old Dox Building site.

The Commission looked at a request from the County Fair to pay for 100 fair catalogs.   The books were printed at Pioneer Printers last year at a cost of $492.75.  This is dependent upon the fair being held.  The Commission voted to pay for the fair books.

Vice-Mayor Don Still said hopes to have the Watermelon Festival 5K despite there not being a festival.  He asked for $3,000 to $4,000.  He estimated the total cost to be $7,000 to $9,000.  Still verified that they had the state guidelines and they had 50 applications.  The Commission seemed open to helping but Still suggested they wait until next week to discuss it further.

Dr. Trevor Coffee returned to the hospitality tax collections.  He noted El Agaves is at least three months behind.   Sharon Caldwell noted the Panda and the Melon Patch that haven’t paid were closed for several months and just reopened.  There were also questions about the “Pancho’s” food truck on East Third.  It was noted the lady that owns the Crawfish Truck behind Hope Tire had just come in that day to pay.  Catherine Cook questioned some of the information the Commissioners had concerning when El Agaves paid.  She said they were only two months behind.  Dr. Coffee said he just wanted to know how long restaurants could get behind before the city sends a “notice to revoke”.  Cook says that what she sends after a couple of months.  She said that generally gets the businesses to pay.  The Commission agreed by acclimation to contact restaurants when they get three months behind.  The meeting then adjourned.