Hope moving forward with downtown efforts

The town of Hope is moving ahead with plans to spruce up the downtown area including facelifts on buildings and a possible new town hall.

According to town officials, more than 20 percent of the commercial and business space in the Town Square is now vacant. That does not include two entirely vacant lots, one owned by the town and one by the Hope Community Center.

The Town Council voted to designate the area around the Town Square as a economic revitalization area last night, as part of a way to unlock grant funds for projects in the area.

The Main Street of HOPE program is looking at a grant to provide facelifts to some of the facades on buildings in the downtown area.

And a town committee is moving ahead with plans to hire RQAW architects at a cost of $9,300 dollars to provide a preliminary architectural study of the town’s needs for a new government building. The existing town hall is in a converted pole-barn like structure that does not have indoor public bathrooms, has heating and cooling issues and is not ADA accessible, town officials have said.

Trena Carter, with Administrative Resources Association, advises the town on grant opportunities. She said that the town could apply for low-interest loans on a 40-year term and grants to pay for a new town hall.