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Commissioners make momentum on Heritage Park, expansion of Hope Mills Municipal Park


Hope Mills Commissioners will move forward with entering into a contract to begin construction on phase one of Heritage Park, the board decided at its Monday meeting. Commissioners also unanimously approved to start budgeting for phase two of an ADA-accessible playground and splash pad in the town.

Heritage Park

  • What happened: The board unanimously moved to accept a bid proposal from K&C Contractors for phase one of Heritage Park and approved Interim Town Manager Chancer McLaughlin to negotiate a contract with the construction company based in Red Springs.
  • The board had to approve a budget amendment of $645,625 to fund the construction, meet the town’s grant obligations, and implement a 10% contingency of $122,725 in case of unforeseen site conditions.
  • The board also approved the reallocation of $405,625 in federal ARPA funding to this project from the Sports Complex project.
  • Why it matters: K&C Contractors submitted a base bid proposal of $1,169,269 and a bid alternate proposal of $108,171 for a total bid of $1,227,440. 
  • The board previously approved a $1,147,175 budget for Phase I of Heritage Park. The budget for this project is now $2,198,425.
  • Heritage Park sits beside the Hope Mills Lake dam, which is located off Lakeview Road. Heritage Park has been in the works for well over a decade, the project “was put on hold after the 2010 failure of Hope Mills Lake dam,” according to a press release. In 2019, the park project was restarted and the town held a groundbreaking in October 2023. “The plan for the over 7-acre site,” the release says, “includes a comfort/restroom station, nature trails, a kayak/canoe launch, interpretative signs, an open lawn space to allow for events, an outdoor classroom, shelters and parking.”

Phase Two starts for Inclusive Playground

  • What happened: The board unanimously moved to reappropriate $200,000 from a budget item for investing in the town’s baseball fields to complete phase two of the town’s new inclusive playground.
  • Why it matters: The playground is located at 5766 Rockfish Road, behind town hall. More than 70% of the playground, which had its grand opening in September, is ADA-accessible, according to a 2023 press release. For phase two of the inclusive playground and splash pad, the department wants to install shaded areas, picnic tables, a specialty wheel-chair swing, a concrete pad and landscaping. The total price for phase two would be $180,000.

No more committee term limit

  • What happened: The board unanimously approved the removal of a two-year limit for town committee members. Under the revised rule, once people are approved to serve on committees and commissions, they can continue to serve until they resign. 
  • Why it matters: According to the board’s Rules and Procedures, individuals in all positions determined by the board of commissioners were previously required to reapply for their position after serving two years. However, several members of the board noted that some committees have not received enough applicants. As a result, quorum is not being met at several committee meetings, meaning committees cannot make any final decisions. By removing the requirement/time limit, board members hope more people will be interested in serving on the volunteer committees.

Cultural Arts Committee

  • What happened: The board moved to unanimously create a new Cultural Arts Committee. 
  • Two people were confirmed to be the committee’s first volunteers: Teresa Davis, the co-founder and executive director at Artist Village Community Theatre, and Sharon Reeves, a cellist and member of Member Cumberland Quartet. 
  • Why it matters: This committee would be made up of citizens, the town’s Parks and Recreation Department and the town’s board of commissioners. The committee will be looking at increasing support for the town’s artistic and cultural community.
  • The committee will be made up of seven people, including a town staff representative. Members “should have a relationship with the community either through business ownership, property ownership, residency, or through demonstrated contribution to the town’s art or cultural resources,” according to the meeting agenda. “The committee may also include representatives from selected non-profit partners or educators that support arts and culture.”

Petition request

  • What happened: The board unanimously moved to direct Town Clerk Ashley Wyatt to look into the “sufficiency” of a voluntary annexation petition request that would annex 7.95 acres at 6905 Camden Road.
  • Why it matters: McLaughlin said this annexation will help connect roads in Hope Mills. He said the town has been discussing the project for quite some time.

Town manager report

  • What happened: McLaughlin gave his report, which updated the board about several construction projects happening in Hope Mills. The Hope Mills Planning Department is reviewing revisions to the latest phase of the Sheffield Farms project. According to McLaughlin, the revisions are related to the placement of mailbox kiosks within the development. The latest development phase will create 71 single-family residences.
  • The Hope Mills Wing Stop is now open. The restaurant is located at 3065 N. Main St., next to Starbucks. The proposed Sheetz Gas Station located along Chickenfoot Road is nearing completion and a ribbon cutting will be announced soon.

Other business

The board unanimously approved the statement of work from Witt O’Brien’s LLC on behalf of the North Carolina League of Municipalities. Witt O’Brien’s LLC will be assisting Hope Mills in identifying and applying for grants to help benefit the town.

The board made a proclamation in recognition of National Wear Red Day, which takes place on the first Friday in February. On National Wear Red Day, people are encouraged to wear red in recognition of heart disease awareness — a disease that kills one in three women, the proclamation says.

Mayor Jessie Bellflowers conducted a formal swearing-in of five Hope Mills police officers: Captain Derwin Brayboy, Captain Mitch Deaver, and Officers Cesar Anavisca, Mikayla Jones, and Joseph Kress. 

Brayboy joined the Hope Mills Police Department in September 2023 after his retirement from the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division, where he served as the special agent in charge of the Fayetteville District, according to the Hope Mills website. He previously served more than 34 years in both the North Carolina Army National Guard and the Army Reserves.

Deaver joined the Hope Mills Police Department in 2022, according to the town website. Previously he worked at the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations for 25 years. When he retired, he was the special agent in charge of the Southeastern District Field Office based out of Fayetteville.

Bellflowers also recognized the promotions of Lt. Derek Rolland and Sgt. Tony Mendez.

The board went into a closed session regarding attorney-client privilege and personnel matters before the town manager report.

At the end of the meeting, Bellflowers asked for the town committees to create their respective budgets for the next fiscal year and present them to the board on March 4.

The board will next meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, in the Bill Luther Board Room at Town Hall.

Contact Hannah Lee at hannahleenews@gmail.com.

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Cultural Arts Committee, Heritage Park, inclusive, ADA-accessible, Hope Mills Commissioners, bid proposal, phase one, phase two, committee, officers