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Hope Mills board tells historic committee to prepare plan for a commission request


Hope Mills commissioners on Monday told the Historic Preservation Committee to finalize a plan for the board’s approval as the next stage in their request to become a state-recognized commission. 

Historic Committee requests to be turned back to a commission

  • What happened: The Historic Preservation Committee requested to be turned back into a Historic Preservation Commission. This discussion began at the last board meeting and was tabled for Monday’s meeting. Town Manager Chancer McLaughlin provided an update to the board about what the change could mean.
  • Why it matters: According to the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, a commission can recommend that local properties be designated as historic districts and landmarks to the town board. The commission can also review “applications from owners of designated landmarks and structures in historic districts who plan to make changes to their properties.” Becoming a commission would also create opportunities for certification that would then allow it to apply for grants and state funding, according to Hope Mills Historic Preservation Committee Chairwoman Sharon Reeves.
  • The town’s Historic Preservation Committee used to be a Historic Preservation Commission and had established Rules of Procedure and a generic design guideline. 
  • What’s next: McLaughlin recommended scheduling several public work sessions so the Historic Preservation Committee can present a plan of action for projects and activities. If the board approves the committee to become a commission, the commission has to be approved by the Cumberland County Planning Board and then have a final vote through the Board of Commissioners. After that, the commission will need to be recognized by the state.

Rockfish baseball team

  • What happened: Rockfish General Managers Ben and Melissa Marsh provided updates on the Rockfish baseball team and its renovated baseball field.
  • Why it matters: The press box should be finished next week, according to Ben Marsh. He also said there will be a designated beer garden close to the press box. To buy alcohol, game attendees will need to purchase a special wristband when they buy tickets at the press office. The cutoff time to buy alcohol will be at the 7th inning.
  • What’s next: The first game will be on May 25; the Cumberland County High School All-County Team will face the Rockfish.

Buying property next to Hope Mills Lake

  • What happened: The board unanimously approved buying two properties on Fountain Lane from Gardner Holdings LLC for $150,000.
  • Why it matters: The money is being appropriated from the town’s interest income and sales tax distribution.
  • What’s next: The board plans to turn these two properties into parking lots next to Hope Mills Lake.

Town manager report

  • What happened: In an update to the board, McLaughlin reported that the police department has created a new resiliency program to help law enforcement officers face unique mental health challenges. McLaughlin said Hope Mills’ human resources is hoping to expand this program to employees townwide. The Public Works Department will also be lowering the lake level for inspection the second week of May.

Other business

Mayor Jessie Bellflowers swore in four new Hope Mills police officers.

The board also approved the closure of Rockfish Road and North Main Street on July 4 from 8 a.m. to noon for the Fourth of July parade.

The board also unanimously approved to have McLaughlin enter the town into an elevator maintenance agreement with Kone Care. The elevators under maintenance will be at the John Hodges Public Safety building.

The board appointed Betty Lynd as the Hope Mills representative for the Cumberland County Joint Planning Committee.

Each commissioner gave an update on the respective committees they serve on as liaisons. A majority of the commissioners promoted upcoming events like the county-wide Earth Day event on April 20 at Festival Park and the Juneteenth event at Dirtbag Ales.

The board will next meet at 7 p.m. on May 6 in the Bill Luther Board Room at Town Hall.

Contact Hannah Lee at hannahleenews@gmail.com.

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