Hope City Board takes action regarding emergency siren repair, new three-way stop, roof repairs to Hope in Action 2, other business

The first May regular meeting of the Hope City Board of Directors, which can viewed in its entirety above, saw decisions to repair rather than replace a non-working emergency siren near Clinton Primary School, to make the intersection of South Main and Division a three-way stop again, to repair Hope in Action 2’s roofs and to display U.S. flags during upcoming holidays.

The emergency siren on Lake Shore Drive is no longer functioning. Since the maintenance of the city’s emergency notification system falls under the Hope Police Department’s responsibility, Police Chief Kim Tomlin presented information on the options the board faced. To repair the one four-horn siren would cost an estimated $15,947; to replace, $48,032, including about $15,000 in electrician fees. Of the amount needed to replace, Tomlin said, “It was so costly I was a little shocked by it.” The estimates came from Texarkana, Arkansas’ PROCOM.

Following discussion, Director Steve Montgomery moved to approve Tomlin seeking quotes for repair of the Lake Shore Drive siren system. Seconded by Vice Mayor Kiffinea Talley, the motion carried unanimously with directors Trevor Coffee and Linda Clark absent. After the vote, Tomlin urged citizens to opt into any of several mobile phone apps that sound emergency alerts, including Code Red, which is used by Hempstead County officials but also the app of the National Weather Service.

The decision to make the one-way stop intersection of South Main and Division a three-way stop, which it has been before in the city’s history was also a unanimous one by the board. During discussion the reasons for the change, Mayor Still said, “We've had some comments from Tailgaters, and the Depot. A lot of visitors coming. I'm always afraid some visitor is going to come out of the Depot and go across the street [into traffic].”

The recent removal of speed bumps, which had come loose from the street surface, has caused drivers on Division Street to build up speed as they pass through the South Main intersection, the Mayor said. Director Mark Ross added that during westbound train passages, northbound drivers on North Hazel can be seen taking the quick left, trying to beat the train to various crossings.

Director Montgomery asked whether two new stop signs could be placed without using too much room on sidewalks for them to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. City Manager J.R. Wilson said if this became a problem, he would let the directors know, but he didn’t think there would be a problem.

The board voted unanimously to approve the three-way stop after Mark Ross’ motion in favor and Director Reginald Easter’s second.

The board also approved the city undertaking roof repairs to a building with 12 rooms used as sleeping quarters for the indigent by the Hope in Action nonprofit.  Executive Director of Hope in Action Paul Henley provided photos of the damage to the roof, which is composed of asphalt shingles. He said the building has been leaking for two years. Estimates are the cost of repair would be $12,500 -$15,000.

The Hope Beautification Committee requested City help to provide the ability to place flags along downtown streets, North Hazel and North Hervey to be displayed on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and Veterans Day. For some locations on Main, Hervey and Hazel holes will have to be drilled to place flags in. The committee will buy 80 flags to be placed on six-foot tall poles. The Rotary Club will help with the work.  Director Montgomery’s motion in favor of approving the proposal (seconded by Director Ross) was approved unanimously.

Two airport items on the agenda concerned allowing for an application to be made for an Arkansas Aeronautics Grant that would finance improved fencing (this the board approved) and considering bids for engineering for the ongoing runway safety area drainage project. The board accepted the low bid from TEC for $1,479,865. Wilson explained the 2023 total for the whole project would be $1,613,844, most of which would be covered by federal funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Airport Improvement Funding and Non-primary Entitlements.  The remaining cost of $88,460 will be sought from the FAA.

“If the board approves, moving forward with this project in 2023, the additional BIL money will need to be paid by the City of Hope as bills come due.  We can reimburse our Airport Fund as BIL money becomes available in 2024, 2025 and 2026” said the agenda information provided by the City Manager’s staff. “If we fail to move forward, we jeopardize the additional AIP money already committed ($175,000) and possibly $150,000 NPE money that will expire.”

Director Ross moved to approve the TEC bid and move forward with the project. Vice Mayor Talley seconded.  The directors voted unanimously to approve.

In City Manager’s Report, Wilson assessed the City Wide Clean Up of Saturday April 22 as great. In all, 71 loads of rubbish and 73 trash bags of litter were removed.  Construction complaints, Wilson said, had been dealt with promptly by the contractor TCC. He also promoted Saturday’s Train/Trade Day downtown event. Revenues for the month, according to Cindy Clark, Wilson said, are slightly ahead of budgeted needs. He also said leadership of Hope Public Schools had conferred with him about an item on the upcoming Special Election ballot.

In Citizens Request Sylvia Brown of Visibility Outreach Touch Engage South Arkansas (VOTE SoAR) reported on her research finding possible grant funding for sirens from Rural Development, FEMA and also for housing in the area. “This is an opportune time to examine the resources that are available.”

Mayor Still noted the passing of Eddie Brazzel, “What a great citizen for Hope. Eddie would do a lot of things for a lot of people. He was a really good guy.”  

The meeting then adjourned.

  • Paul Henley from Hope in Action describes the need for repairs at Hope in Action 2.

  • Hope Police Chief Kim Tomlin speaks on the state of the siren system near Clinton Primary.

  • Sylvia Broan of VOTE SoAR speaks to the board regarding grant opportunities.

  • Paul Henley, Executive Director of Hope in Action.