City board passes ordinance condemning 13 properties, touts April 22 city wide Cleanup Day--updated with video

Condemnations of properties was on the agenda of the second April Hope Board of Directors meeting Tuesday night. Three parties spoke to the board on the reasons work had stopped on rehabilitating their properties, were given reasons their properties were put on the condemned list and advice on what steps to take next. But the ordinance listing theirs and ten other properties for condemnation was voted unanimously through.

The seventh item on the agenda occupied the most time Tuesday night, as Hope Building Official Carl Conley presented several slides for 13 addresses that were listed on an ordinance as having structures in need of rehabilitation or tearing down. Conley described the reasons each structure did not pass muster with the city’s code for safe conditions in a building.

The condemnation ordinance provides that each owner gets a maximum of 30 days to file for a building permit with the city that must be accepted by Conley prior to allowing more time for the owners to rehabilitate or destroy the unsafe structures. Three parties that appeared successively in defense of three of the respective structures asked Conley to repeat his findings to them, provide some pointers for rehabbing their buildings (except in one case in which he recommended razing the building) and explain the process of filling in a building permit form. Each resolved to apply for a permit and work to repair their buildings. The ordinance itself passed unanimously. It--including the list of condemned properties--can be seen on page 26 of this agenda package provided by the city to the board members and the public.

The board also approved, after a presentation by Fire Chief Todd Martin, the purchasing of four Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus equipment units for $38,000 for the Hope Fire Department.  This cost draws from funds budgeted for in the city’s 2023 Capital Outlay. The board was asked to waive the sealed bidding process for these items because only one authorized vendor provides the equipment in Arkansas.  The ordinance to purchase was also passed with an emergency clause because the product is in the interest of public safety, but also to speed up the purchasing in case the price changes later.

In other business, the board was given time to examine a budget report current up to the end of March.

The board also heard a report from City Manager J.R. Wilson on numbers generated by various city departments.

In his City Manager’s Report, Wilson announced the Runway Rehab Project was to begin May 15, the Airport Drainage Project’s bid opening will be April 25 and the board is scheduled to tour city facilities starting at 9:30 a.m. April 25.

He said sod around the batting cage at Fair Park has been laid.

There is interest in acquiring the former Kopecky Property on the part of the National Parks Service for rehabbing the building and using the land for parking. Change in federal legislation will be needed prior to any transfer. The city will be sending letters to its Congressional delegation to advocate for the changed language that is needed. Otherwise a city property cannot be donated to a federal agency.

Wilson announced April 22, 2023—this coming Saturday--will be the date for the City Wide Cleanup.  City Director Mark Ross said 20 groups will be meeting at The Hub at 7:00 a.m. on that day to organize the effort and from there to begin fanning out into neighborhoods.  Wilson provided some guidelines to the day: 1) no household trash; 2) no limbs, leaves or straw; 3) no full cans of paint or lidless cans of wet paint. If a can of paint is completely dried, it can be taken. 4) disposal of refrigerators and freezers requires written proof of refrigerant disposal from a certified technician.

Ross praised Marcia White and the group of youth she has organized to do weekly cleanup in the Northside area.

In Citizen’s Request, Ross asked for an update on getting the city pool in Fair Park ready. Wilson said the city had not received a sufficient number of applications for lifeguard positions. Ross suggested working with the Hope High School’s Bobcat Works program to recruit lifeguards and also personnel for the Animal Control facility.

Marcia White asked about the protocol for hiring lifeguards. Wilson replied that they could fill out applications available at the Fair Park office in the Community Center. Those chosen would take a CPR course, receiving certification for it, prior to assuming duties.

City GIS and Technology Coordinator Darrell Allen added that the pool management and parks program coordinator positions are also open.  “We’ve got jobs,” Wilson said.

“I’ve got people,” said White.

The meeting then adjourned.

Hope Fire Chief Todd Martin speaks before the Hope Board of Directors in the second April meeting last night.

  • Hope Building Official Carl Conley

  • City Attorney Randal Wright reads an ordinance.

  • Fire Chief Todd Martin addresses the board.