In the Hope City Board’s first regular meeting of September, part one of which can be seen here, the items discussed included:
- A request from Scout Aunna Golden for help with her Eagle Scout project of building a pavilion at the Huckabee Lakes which would be over the reflection area near the Scout Center and the lakes. She sought permission to build there and the provision of costs for concrete. The building itself will be funded through donations. The board voted unanimously to fund the concrete, which is estimated to cost about $1,000.
- Acceptance of a Federal Aeronautics Administration Grant that will be used to improve drainage at the Hope Airport. The board approved the submission of a grant application seeking $160,672 with an Americans with Disabilities Act grant upon completion of the project which would be $17,853. The total funds would be $178,525. During the discussion City Manager Catherine Cook and City Director Mark Ross stressed that funds allotted to the airport must be spent on the airport and cannot be used for other projects.
- Letting the airport’s engineering projects out for bid. Every five years, the city government must send out a Request For Proposals from engineering firms to work on its everyday needs. The ad has already run in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette September 4th. The board to review the bids will consist of Catherine Cook, Hope GIS and Technology Coordinator Darrell Allen, Assistant City Manager J.R. Wilson and City Director Steve Montgomery, who volunteered during the discussion. No action was required on this matter.
- Hearing a briefing from Catherine Cook on the question of how Housing Authority tenants are to receive their trash bags and how to remedy an apparent problem regarding the pickup of rubbish at Housing Authority complexes. Cook explained that for several months she had been working with Housing Authority officials who are requesting that the trash bags issued by the Hope Sanitation Department be delivered to the door of each Housing Authority tenant. Montgomery and City Attorney Randall Wright said this change would also mean that all tenants of apartments and multi-family units would have to start receiving individualized deliveries as well. Sanitation Department Superintendent Nathaniel Holyfield said he preferred that tenants come to the Public Works shop on 1603 West Third to pick up their bags. He said if the Department delivered bags, they would quickly disappear. Pertaining to rubbish pickup Cook said the city’s trucks for picking up rubbish are not permitted to enter the property of apartment complexes. She advised residents to place rubbish to curbs close to the streets but without impeding traffic. Finally, the board agreed to Cook’s idea to adopt an interim policy allowing tenants to pick up two rolls of bags pending an agreement being reached with the Housing Authority.
- Discussion of what to do with two FEMA tents at the airport that are deteriorating. Darrell Allen said he had spoken to Jeremy Stone, an engineer whose services the city often uses, and an idea emerged to take one of the tents down and reconstruct it at the Hope Public Works facility for use in storage. The tent would have to be reskinned afterward. No action was taken but discussions will continue about the possible project.
- A half-hour executive session was taken. Afterward, Major Don Still it had pertained to hiring firms to help in the search for a new City Manager, since Catherine Cook will be retiring at the end of 2022.
In the City Manager’s Report, Cook reported continued activity with the Sixth Street project. She also announced that Capitol Offense, the rock group that includes former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee would be performing Saturday, September 10 in the City Hall’s Klipsch Auditorium. She said some trouble with the air conditioning emerged this past weekend but the arrival of new units from Hollis Heating and Air by Friday would remedy this.
Brick has been delivered to build the sign by the Fair Park pavilion, she said. Hope Parks Superintendent Summer Powell has applied for a grant. A sign of potential success for the application would be being asked to make a presentation in Little Rock in October or November. By November or December it would be known whether the grant will be made.
On the Streetscape Project, Cook told the board to anticipate being presented with options in the next September meeting. “Some involve spending more money,” she said. But all would involve sending the project out for rebidding.
Concerning the train derailment, which took place last Wednesday, Cook said one worry was whether the car that had derailed would fall onto an expensive signal light at the intersection of North Elm and Division Street. But this did not occur. Nor was there an accident on I-30 during the time traffic was blocked by the train at North Hazel (Highway 29) and West Third (Highway 67), which could have caused a traffic bottleneck in the city. Highway 67 ended up being blocked for four hours.
Director Mark Ross asked about signs placed on city dumpsters to warn people they were for commercial purposes only. He was told these signs had already been placed on the dumpsters.
The meeting adjourned at about 8:45 p.m.