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Tourism Commission Hears From Arts Council, Chamber & More at September Meeting

The Hope Advertising and Tourist Commission met on September 12, 2019, at the Hope Train Depot.

Dolly Henley, SW Arkansas Arts Council President, presented a request to the board for an increase of funds for Advertising and Promotion Scholarship. The project scheduled, is a series of five stage shows to be presented consecutively from October 2019, through May 2020. The stage shows will feature a Romeo and Juliet play, Cinderella and Peter Pan on Ice, Acapella group performances, Glenn Miller Orchestra and more. The media market range for the events is 90 miles each direction from Hope and media platforms being used are print, radio, television, social media, brochures and banners. In previous years, the project series has drawn in around 5,000 citizens and visitors, and that number is estimated to grow now that the Performing Art Series is in action. Henley stated, the budget for this is very tight and is always cut extremely close. Sponsors are being brought in to help cushion the risk of exceeding the budget. The Arts Council is ultimately requesting assistance in advertising at 50 percent or $8,000 of the $16,000 total cost. They are also requesting sponsorship of the program series at a $1,000 level and sponsorship of an in-school or after-school program at the $1,500 level . The overall amount of the requests equals $10,500 in assistance for the future projects scheduled. Henley shared, “the purpose of the arts council is to foster creativity, while pushing to enrich the community with arts and culture, and we invite everyone to visit the brand new art exhibit, opened recently in Hope, showcasing art from nine locally known artists.” The motion for the increase of budget by $8,000 was approved.

Eddie Garcia, requesting assistance with the Latino Heritage Museum, began by informing the board that this is the eighteenth anniversary of the Hope Spanish newspaper. The next project on their agenda, is the official establishment of the museum. There are only 18 Latino Museums in existence nation wide and only 9 are promoted by the states they are in. Assistance with acquiring a resource center displaying the Latino Culture, to promote a mutual understanding and cooperation between Latino people and the people of Arkansas, is what Garcia is working towards. Businesses and community leaders will be encouraged to participate and have announced they will sponsor, support and volunteer towards the museum if the museum will obtain a legitimate establishment or building. The museum would be a place to introduce more knowledge of a different culture into the area drawing more visitors in and bringing more people in the community together. Garcia, along with his associates, have invited experienced assistance to Hope next week to help them in promoting the idea of the museum establishment. An amount of approximately $1,000 in fundraising has been collected but more projects to increase that amount are being put in place. The board members informed Garcia that the request will be discussed and put on the agenda for further possible action. 

Chamber of Commerce Director, Beckie Moore, shared final information about the 2019 Watermelon Festival. The festival was an overall success ending with outstanding income and great publicity. Food vendors were very pleased there weren’t as many of them this year.  Stages were filled, kid zones were being used wonderfully, music was enjoyed and many more great turn outs took place at the festival. Sandboxes and booths were setup so children could get out of their strollers to color and finger paint this was very appreciated by many parents. The 5k drew in a fantastic amount of citizens and visitors and photographer Rod Steele showed up to capture the many great moments of the event. ATMs were setup throughout the festival, with maintenance workers ready to fix them at any time. The ATMs were a great addition to the festival this year and many people have expressed this feeling to the Chamber. The company that setup the ATMs cut a check to the Chamber for a percentage of the income after the festival ended. Pafford EMS showed great workmanship assisting anyone in need and an estimated 500 volunteers worked hard to make the festival. All supporters and sponsors are greatly appreciated by the City of Hope officials and citizens. The current estimated income of the 2019 festival was around $49,000 to $51,000 and expenses remained the same.

City Manager, Catherine Cook, spoke on behalf of the new Tourism Tax Collector Permit Application. Cook shared that all permit applications have been sent out and about 10 have been returned thus far. From what they can tell, the new application system for local businesses is working far better now than before, when it was based on an honor system. 

Don Still shared an update on the Atwood’s and Kopecky properties. An outside firm was brought in to appraise the Atwood’s Property, valuing it at the $43,000 level. Atwood’s associate, Glenn, was informed of the appraisal amount and assured that things should still go as planned. Once the property is signed over to the Clinton House, construction will be under way. Talk is going around, of a monument or flag pole being placed at the corner lot, that will still be owned by the city. Adding onto the Atwood’s property will have some affect on the Kopecky property, turning it into a parking lot. Designs will be drawn up and presented to the Tourism and City Board for signing off.

Plans are still being made for the Pavilion Park Sign to be placed in the park. The sign is being based off the designs of the sign at ASU. Catherine Cook, introduced the idea of asking the UAHT welding class to make the sign for the park. The sign’s cost and creation plans will be discussed further in future meetings.

Construction on the Fair Park Playgrounds is still under way. Both sets of equipment for the two sites has been ordered. The locally famous elephant slide is being refinished for safety purposes and will be returned to the park. Although, with the new equipment on site, the elephant slide will now be placed to the side of the playground area, but will still be accessible to the public for use. The light over looking the playground, is being relocated to the parking lot area. Old equipment, taken down by the city, is still on site waiting to be disposed of. While the equipment is old, it is still usable and it has been discussed that the equipment be donated to a local church for re-use.

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