The Hope City Board saw another capacity crowd on Tuesday night, acting easily on two matters, but struggling with two matters related to Hope's downtown, specifically a proposed $12,000 flower bed and $3,000 towards further development of a controversial Farmer's Market Pavillon at the Graves property site.
The Hope City Board saw another capacity crowd on Tuesday night, acting easily on two matters, but struggling with two matters related to Hope’s downtown, specifically a proposed $12,000 flower bed and $3,000 towards further development of a controversial Farmer’s Market Pavillon at the Graves property site.
Farmer’s Market Manager Jodi Coffee, who is the wife of Ward 5 Board member Trevor Coffee, addressed the Board, and she specifically asked for three items, a Memorandum of Agreement from the City, a groundbreaking ceremony, movement on proposed Architect drawings.
Coffee positively spoke of a vision for the Pavillon project, and she felt like a blueprint showing the project would bring excitement to the community. Coffee touted the work of Architect Clint Bailey.
Noting the current Farmer’s Market is now starting its fifth year, Coffee said “Many successful Markets have taken a decade to develop, but have become something great for their communities.”
Concerns expressed by Board members Mark Ross and Kiffinea Talley revolved around $3,000 for site design services, presumedly to be done by Bailey, for the presumed Graves site.
Ross even asked if plans were made, “if these plans could be transferred to another site?”
The undercurrent of Tuesday’s Pavillon discussion, however, was an earlier meeting this month of the emerging Downtown Hope Network, which at its last meeting voted to make a recommendation to the Hope City Board that the Graves property, which is across the street from BankCorp South, be considered for commercial development and that the Hope Farmer’s Market, and presumedly its proposed Pavilion, be relocated to the Finks property in another section of downtown.
Many of the same principals from that meeting last week were in attendance at Tuesday’s board meeting, but no one spoke to the Network’s recommendation.
Talley said she was concerned about paying $3,000 for services without the site being set, and then citizen John Akin asked about Hope taxpayer dollars on the project, and City Manager Catherine Cook admitted the city would pay fees to Bailey.
Cook said the city had applied for a SWEPCO grant for $30,000 and the city is also looking at an outdoor recreation grant with 50-percent matching funds.
Throwing a further uncertainty into the discussion, Cook said neither will be announced until at least December.
Earlier in the meeting, Cook had told Coffee that the city couldn’t start on the project until they get the grants they are applying for. Mayor Steve Montgomery asked Cook twice for clarity on when the city may get the grants, but finally had to concede, they were not 100-percent certain.
Ross made a motion to table to matter, which was seconded by Talley; then, Ross and Talley yes on their own motion, but no other board member voted yes or no, and the matter was considered tabled.
Likewise, the $14,000 proposed flower bed project met a similar fate, even as Cook announced that she had negotiated a lower cost at $12,000. When Trevor Coffee pointed out the Farmer’s Market proposal that the city just tabled was $3,000, he asked “We are looking at $12,000 for a flower bed?”
What the Board did accomplish earlier in the evening included a new Lions Club Community Action Center located at the old State Police Headquarters near Southern Bakery on East 3rd as it becomes Hwy. 67 East.
Richard Wade said the proposed complex would be a food pantry, household needs center, and community resource hub.
“If a house burns down, and people need food or toilet paper, that is what we are going to be there for,” Wade said.
The Board unanimously approved the request, and directed City Attorney Joe Short to draw up an agreement.
Likewise, a request for the 4-H Shooting Sports Club to use the Dyke Springs Archery facility on Rocky Mound Road was also approved, and the board directed Short to develop an agreement on the city-owned property with the Sports Club.
Cook noted that the City of Hope owned several pieces of property in and all around the immediate downtown area of Hope and that a handful of agreements for property use had been performed over the years.