The Hope City Board met Tuesday, January 21 for their last meeting of the month with a room full of local citizens and some requests. The agenda wasn’t heavy this week, but many discussions took place. The meeting was called to order by City Mayor, Steve Montgomery and followed by the invocation, pledge of allegiance and the reviewal of the minutes from the last meeting.
Public Hearing: New Millennium Grant
In order to close out the grant provided by the Arkansas Department of Economic Development, a second public hearing is required. The grant consisted of $125,000 for the rail spur improvement located in the industrial park. The first meeting took place on January 7 of this year. This second hearing was held to announce that the construction for the rail spur has been completed successfully and the city will be closing out the grant. Proceeding the hearing, the board members gathered for executive session.
The board returned from executive session to address the topic of reappointments for the Hope Water and Light, Planning and Zoning and Tourism Commissions. Dr. LaDell Douglas was reappointed to the HW&L Commission for another term lasting until December of 2024.
Doodle Franklin and Kiffinea Talley were approved for reappointment until December of 2022 for the Panning and Zoning Commission. Also for that commission, George Straughter will be replaced by Cindy Ford and Don Freel will be added as a member.
Babu Patel and Trevor Coffee were reappointed as Tourism Commission members for another term lasting until December of 2023. These commission member reappointments were all approved and the board moved to the next item on the agenda.
Consider Relay for Life Street Closing Request
Relay for Life Advocates, Janet Choate and Jesse Lewis attended the meeting to request a street shutdown for the upcoming RFL event on April 24, 2020. The request consisted of closing parts of 2nd Street, Elm Street and Main Street in the downtown area from 4pm to 11pm that evening. 2nd Street would be closed from the corner of Elm to Walnut Street. They presented a map illustration to the board for example to show where the RFL teams needed to set up for the participants to walk the course. Choate and Lewis confirmed they will be going to all the businesses on these streets to inform them of the request and get approval from them also.
City Manager, Catherine Cook said ” Relay for Life has been a great part of this community and helped with improving this area so much.” The request was approved upon the contingency that all the businesses agree and are aware of the plans.
For some time, the Hempstead County Economic Development Corporation has been working with an industry interested in locating their business in the Industrial Park area of Hope. The city along with Hope Water and Light have been assisting this economic development prospect.
This company is interested in a 6 acre parcel located east of Hexion and also in additional property between this parcel and the newly completed railroad spur. “The HCEDC, for many reasons would need to be the purchaser of the property if the City wishes to sell it,” said City Manager Cook. The City of Hope is in ownership of the property as part of the Southwest Proving Grounds that was disposed of by the Federal Government in 1949. This property along with others obtained in that event, are subject to deed restrictions that require the selling of the property to have approval by the FAA, to be sold at Fair Market Value based upon an appraisal and all the proceeds from the sale must be transferred to the Airport Fund.
“I have met with the current FAA Airport Manager, Sara Katie Fields-Pack, and explained that the City of Hope may soon be bringing an important economic development request to have the property released from the deed restriction to sale,” said Manager Cook.
The board members decided that the appraisal should be done and further discussion will be had at later meetings as the project progresses.
Consider Bids: Garbage Bags
The bids received were from Houston Poly in the amount of $30,405, Central Poly in the amount of $39,700 and Unipack in the amount of $45,000 with a set budget of $45,000. The board reviewed the bids for garbage bags accepted the bid for $39,405 which was recommended by the Sanitation Department. The board stated that they used to order around 600,000 of these bags for the city but the order amount has decreased over the last few years.
Amendment to Jail Agreement: Hope & Hempstead County
On the agenda was the amendment being considered to the Jail agreement between the City of Hope and Hempstead County that allows for the construction, furnishing, equipping, occupancy and possession of new Office space at the Hempstead County Law Enforcement Center for use by the Hope Police Department.
The amendment to the agreement was approved by the board and the matter will now be brought to the Quorum Court for a meeting on January 23, 2020 for their approval and signature.
The meeting was adjourned by Mayor Steve Montgomery as he wished everyone a good night and thanking everyone for attending the meeting.