Hope Tourism Commission Meets

By Staff, 08/25/20 5:51 PM

The Hope Tourism met Tuesday via Zoom.  First up the commission heard from Amanda Lance concerning establishment of a county-wide website.  The commission voted to spend $5,000 towards the eventual nearly $17,000 to begin working on the site.  The site would be divided between the Economic Development Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Tourism Commission.

The Commission considered paying the insurance premium for the Southwest District Fair.  The Commission thought that the insurance premium should be less since there will only be a livestock show.  Interim Park Director Summer Powell said she will check back with Fair Manager Becky Featherston and Anderson-Frazier to determine if a less expensive premium can be secured due to the reduction of activities at the fair this year due to COVID-19.

The Commission considered renewing their membership with the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council.  No one could determine what membership level the Commission did last year.  Vice-Mayor Don Still said he expected they would do something but made a motion to table it until the Commission can get info from the arts council.

Hope City Manager Catherine Cook offered some information on billboards for Hope.  The prices ranged for $400 per month for one near Prescott as opposed to $1,000 per month for billboards on I-30 near the Texarkana Speedway.  Vice-Mayor Don Still suggested offering $600 per month for a two-year period as the billboards have been empty for some time.  The Commission authorized Cook via motion to offer $600 per month for two years for the I-30 billboard near Texarkana Speedway.

Catherine Cook gave the Commission an update on the proposed “Street Scape” program the city hopes to undertake between downtown and the Clinton Birthplace.  The total cost has gone up over $119,000 for the total project.  Increased costs included updated lighting and $18,000 for some pedestrian crossings to become compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.  Also the project had proposed using bricks for paving similar to what’s at the depot.  Cook says the city can’t apply for more grant money on this until this time next year.  Cook also said the board had suggested appealing to Water & Light and the Tourism Commission for help.  Dr. Trevor Coffee asked if the city will lose the money if it’s not all used.  Cook said they wouldn’t lose the money and they could simply do 2 blocks and then apply for funds next year for the final block.  Cook said they might could even ask for more funds for other projects next year.  Mayor Montgomery said he’s talked to Hope Water & Light about picking up $30,000 of the increased cost.  He also suggested the city might put in $30,000 from reserves and that would leave $60,000 for the Tourism Commission.  Dr. Trevor Coffee said he had apprehensions about what the National Park Service might do for the final block.  Vice-Mayor Still said he thinks the Park Service will stay with the theme the city pursues.  The Vice-Mayor says he can reach out to the Park Service.  Cook agreed with Vice-Mayor Still on the Park Service cooperating with the city.  The Commission voted to consider doing $60,000 of the overage on the street scape project. The meeting then adjourned.