The Hope City Board of Directors designated 15 dilapidated residential properties for condemnation on Tuesday night, although three of the properties had representatives at the meeting who claimed they were going to begin rehabilitation work.

The Hope City Board of Directors designated 15 dilapidated residential properties for condemnation on Tuesday night, although three of the properties had representatives at the meeting who claimed they were going to begin rehabilitation work.
Based on a report from Code enforcement officer Carl Conley, the named addresses were 1019 West 4th, 1305 West 4th, 1003 West 6th, 902 West Avenue B, 401 South Bonner, 513 West Division, 215 North Ferguson, 206 South Grady, 412 Henry C. Yerger, 801 Henry C. Yerger, 521 Johnson, 214 South Laurel, 1221 North Midland, 1225 North Midland, and 1008 North Walker.
Curiously absent from the list were any commercial buildings, downtown buildings, or well-known and highly visible dilapidated structures such as the two-story apartment complex sitting on the corner of East 3rd Street and Edgewood.
After the meeting, Ward 2 Board Member Kiffinea Talley conceded there were notable omissions, but she also the selected properties “were important to the neighborhoods that they are in.”
Ward 1 Board Member Mark Ross, also conceding the list was incomplete, said “Its a start. We’ve got to start somewhere.”
In introducing the measure to the City Board, City Manager Catherine Cook also stated “I will not say that this is a complete list of all the structures in town that need to be looked at; and if the city had to take these all down, we would not have the money to do so,” she said.
During his presentation to the Board, which included a slide show of pictures of the individual properties, City Code Inspector Carl Conley said if the property is designated as condemned the owner has 30 days to rehab it or tear it down. Three of the property owners were represented at the meeting, and they were advised to obtain permits for the rehabilitation process.
Attorney Angie Taylor spoke, representing the Texas-based owner of 521 Johnson. She said an active permit had been obtained and work started on that property on July 10, just prior to the Board’s July 11 meeting.
A second Hope citizen, James Clark claimed responsibility for the property at 1019 West 4th, and he said he intended to rehab as a storage building. However, Cook and others told Clark that the address was zoned as residential and as a residential structure, it must have plumbing and be inhabitable.
A third citizen, Lewis Allen, spoke about 1221 North Midland, which was basically a fire damaged mobile home. Allen said, “It has a good foundation. The floors are solid, and it can still be a good two-bedroom, two-bath home. The inside is in good shape.”
Allen presented the showed the board with interior pictures of the mobile home, but unlike the slide show, these photos were not available for public display.
Allen estimated that $2,000 would be needed to rehab the mobile home; Conley said he believed Allen would need more than that based on his observations.
The condemnation resolution was approved, but for the three ownerships, Conley said there would be regular inspections and progress reports.  If the owners were showing good faith efforts to rehabilitate the structures, then the City would not proceed with other actions.
In other City Board news, the board approved a resolution supporting State legislative action on the Internet sales tax. An ongoing controversy during the 2017 session, the Arkansas Municipal League has endorsed the collection of sales taxes by online merchants.
Citing the familiar argument statewide in the debate, Cook said traditional ”brick and mortar" retailers, such as local businesses in Hope, all pay sales tax. The board approved the endorsement.
The board also approved for a grant for $90,629 from the Federal Aviation Administration. Cook said local matching funds would be needed in the amount of $10,070. Cook said drainage has been a problem at the airport, especially at the main airfield, where pilots have been warned on occasion about excessive water.
Cooks said the grant would fund a drainage study at the airport, and she also said the grant was based on reimbursement, so the city would have to produce the money upfront.  The board unanimously approved the grant.