The Hope City Board met for their first meeting of March on Tuesday. The meeting opened with Dr. Larry Silvey addressing the board. Dr. Silvey lives adjacent to the Hope Country Club. Fourteen months ago Dr. Silvey’s driveway was damaged by a fire engine which drove into his yard to put out a fire at the Country Club. Dr. Silvey said during that time no one within the city would take responsibily for the damage done to his driveway. He thanked the board for hearing him and told the board he was going to fix his driveway and he felt that would give him peace in the matter.
The board heard from Russell Cornelius concerning Hope Water and Light providing broadband via fiber. Cornelius showed the prices for service currently offered for broadband in Hope. He showed how Hope Water and Light can offer broadband very competitively such as for $65 per month for 100 mbps. Cornelius said they would like to undertake a pilot project in some neighborhoods off 16th such as on Summit Drive. Cornelius said they would also like to do a rural project as well off Spring Hill Road around Meadow Creek Drive. He said the pilot project’s would cost Hope Water and Light about $81,000. Cornelius said the Water and Light Commission has approved the pilot project and they need the city board’s approval to undertake the pilot project. Board member Kiffenea Talley asked if the broadband bill would be separate from the water and light bill. Cornelius said it would probably be a separate bill but even if it was on the water and light bill it would not impact the customer’s water and light bill. Board member Mark Ross asked how many surveys Water and Light had returned and Cornelius said 889. Cornelius also noted almost 40% had Hope Community TV for broadband. Cornelius showed results from some of the questions and answered questions from the board. Cornelius also detailed the Hope Water and Light coverage area which includes Spring Hill, Oakhaven, to Amerities on 278 west, to the county line on US278 east. Board member Dr. Linda Clark asked “why 16th?” and Cornelius explained because they already have fiber there. The board voted to allow Hope Water and Light to proceed with their pilot program. Mayor Montgomery asked Cornelius to also continue to work on Wi-Fi for the downtown area.
The board looked at a change order on the rail spur project. There is a need for lime stabilization and geotechnical fabric under the rock to help with the recent and expected future wet conditions.. The cost would be an extra $23,000 on the half-million dollar project. The project had a contingency fund of about $80,000 and this will leave just under $60,000 available.
Under the City Manager’s report, Catherine Cook noted the airport drainage project has been affected by the weather as has some concrete work needed at the downtown Pavilion. Cook also noted the water treatment plants have been affected by the wet weather. She also noted they hope to do the street program earlier this year and hope to bring a proposed street program to the board within six weeks. Cook said Police Chief Wilson has gone to the Quorum Court to ask for permission to proceed with the police department expansion and the JP’s granted it.
Under citizens requests Hazel Simpson thanked the street department for work during the recent rain. Simpson asked when the downtown pavilion will be available and how do you reserve it. Cook told her it will be available through the Fair Park office. Simpson asked if there will be a charge and Cook noted that will be up to the board. Simpson indicated she hoped it would be available in July for the Yerger Reunion and the Mayor said he thought it would be.
Jay Kopecky asked if the board still planned to have a green space along with parking when the Kopecky/Foster house on West 2nd comes down. The Mayor indicated it indeed will have a green space. Vice-Mayor Don Still gave a report on a meeting with the Clinton Birthplace on the space, the proposed Veterans Memorial, and a plaque in memory of the Foster family. Vice-Mayor Still says demolition is waiting on dry weather.
It was noted Vice-Mayor Still finished second in his age group in the Little Rock marathon. The meeting then adjourned.