Dreams were realized in 2013 and dreams were re-approached in 2013.
The opening in March of the Charitable Christian Medical Clinic of Hope in the former Martindale Clinic building in downtown Hope was the culmination of a dream of almost two decades.
Originally operated from the Hempstead County Health Unit complex, the clinic concept was already fully developed by Dr. Dale Goins and other supporters by the time it moved into temporary quarters at the First Baptist Church and discussions began about more permanent housing.
“In 1998, this clinic was begun as a seed where a group of people had a dream to provide healthcare to those who couldn't afford it,” Goins said at the dedication ceremonies. “A group of us went to Hot Springs and saw their clinic. They really helped us understand how a Christian clinic works and gave us tips to start one here. Everybody brings to the table their own special skills.”
With an agreement by the Jim Martindale family to donate the building, the site was decided.
The project has been closely allied with the City of Hope, which has provided the financial and grants-based services to get it off the ground. State General Improvement Fund grant funding of some $200,000 got the project started in 2005, and that has been supplemented with some $250,000 in Arkansas Community and Economic Development grants, with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality doing some $100,000 in environmental cleanup for the project.
The building operated for years as the Martindale Clinic had to be gutted after it was declared a “Brownfield” site by the ADEQ, meaning that substantial environmental cleanup was needed before the state would allow any new use of the building. The first hurdle was the removal in 2006 of more than two dozen plastic containers and barrels of hazardous materials and chemicals from the building, which had not been in use since it was closed in 1978.
With the completion of the ADEQ's role finally resolved in 2009, organizers of the project worked with the City for two more years to develop a complete architectural plan for the facility which would not only meet the need, but do so within the budget from state grant funds that had been approved for the project.
An architectural plan was worked out in 2009; and, the next step was to protect the interior of the building by addressing roofing needs. Once the building was “in the dry,” the next step was to address an interior design plan and construction, which was completed in 2012.
Ross runs for governor
It was the best worst-kept political secret in Arkansas that former Congressman Mike Ross, of Prescott, by way of Hope, had gubernatorial aspirations.
But, in 2012 Ross made it clear that he was tired of Washington and the growing acrimony of national politics; and, he quit Congress to begin an executive position at the Southwest Power Pool in Little Rock in January.
Page 2 of 2 - Scarcely three months later, Ross abruptly resigned from a job that had been assured for him by high school friend Nick Brown, president of the SPP, in order “to pursue another opportunity in public service.”
Ross had publicly ruled out a 2014 run for governor in what would surely have been a bruising primary campaign with Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. But, McDaniel's campaign imploded with allegations regarding an extra-marital relationship with a Hot Springs attorney, and Ross was suddenly a hot name among Democrats, who were eschewing former Lt. Governor Bill Halter's intentions to run for governor.
In April, Ross made it official in an announcement in Little Rock that spearheaded a statewide swing.
“I'm not running against anyone, I'm running because I've got a positive vision for the future of this state that is based on building what Governor Beebe has started in education and economic development,” Ross said at a campaign stop at the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope.
Ross said he was not focused on attacks against him by Halter.
“I've got a positive vision and a positive message, and my campaign is not going to be about the past,” Ross said. “It's going to be about the future and moving the state forward and insuring that every child in the state can get a good education and have a job to come home to.”
In the 2014 campaign, Ross is expected to go head-to-head with Republican Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman from Northwest Arkansas, in a race with some political ghosts. Ross is a protege of former President Bill Clinton; and, Hutchinson is the former congressman who brought the articles of impeachment against Clinton from the U.S. House of Representatives to trial in the U. S. Senate in 1999. Clinton was subsequently acquitted, ostensibly on the basis of an emotional floor speech by then-Senator Dale Bumpers, of Arkansas.