Up & Coming Weekly

October 26, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 10 of 24

10 UCW OCTOBER 27-NOVEMBER 2, 2021 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM NEWS Hope Mills has a very diverse and growing population including young families, millennials , military, seniors and plenty of retirees and disabled veterans. Collectively, what programs and policies would you recommend and implement to enhance everyone's quality of life? WARNER: As mayor, to identify quality of life programs, I have aligned with our youth through a Mayor's Youth Leadership Council — representative of our three high schools-Southview, Grays Creek and Jack Britt — our veterans and military by being involved with Heroes Homecoming, attending and partici - pating with our military at Fort Bragg events, our seniors by representing our community on the Senior Tarheel Legislature and the Mid-Carolina Council of Aging, the Pastors' Coalition, using these avenues to identify the needs and concerns for a better Hope Mills. Partnerships are important as we address the needs of these populations to include available funding that can be acquired by working together with others in our county. Currently, our Tier 1 Committee with board approval is in the process of researching how a facility could provide services for our seniors and veterans to include rehabilitation and prepared meals free of charge, a pool for high school competitive team practice, swimming lessons for our youth, a fam - ily friendly facility with childcare while other members are involved in certain activities and more gym space for our recreational needs — funding partner- ships so our citizens receive the benefits without tax increases. Our committee's findings to include estimated costs and details will be presented to the town board for their input and approval. We need to encourage recruitment and re- tention of our police department personnel to include more funding for a drug task force. Our new Public Safety Building should help in recruitment. Public safety is necessary for quality of life—as our population increases our policies and programs must develop around a safe and secure town. Finally, bringing programs to Hope Mills such as classes provided by FTCC, FSU or Methodist University, Art Council exhibits and cultural arts programs to enhance our community such as we have started with our partnership with UNC Pembroke. BELLFLOWERS: Research has shown that recreation is an important factor in quality of life for everyone, for example, a very diverse and growing popula- tion in Hope Mills. One of Hope Mills most valuable resources is its network of parks and the main recreational facility. For example, Hope Mills Recreation Center is a recreational facility primar- ily used for Parks & Recreation programs. With just over 28 acres, Hope Mills Municipal Park is one of the community's most treasured resources along with Ed Herring and Bonayre Gardens neighborhood parks. And, Hope Mills Lake Park is the centerpiece of our downtown where people from all over our community gather to enjoy recreational opportunities and the natural beauty of the lake. Another example is the Golfview Greenway Park where open green space is a premium in any community as a quality-of-life amenity. Parks are places to meet and celebrate with family and friends. ey are inclusive, accessible and venues for community events and sports activities. On any given week day and especially on weekends, you will find plenty of young families, millennials, senior citizens, military families and disabled veterans with service dogs all enjoying the park. And, on the horizon is the Heritage Park project which has been funded for Phase I completion. Going forward, we need a senior citizen center and a town museum. Our community parks and recreational facilities can be just as impor - tant as fire and police services to the quality of life in our community. We must guard these valuable community assets that has served genera- tions past and those generations to come. is is called vision and if elected as mayor, I pledge to protect our limited recreational space and the historical culture of our town. Finally, each candidate was asked to include a question of their own. One they felt should have been asked. WARNER: Do you think a plan is needed for downtown? What is considered our downtown is our historic Trade Street—in the 1900s it was a busy street with shops, a pharmacy, post office, theater, pool halls, groceries and a funeral home to name a few. Nearby were two Mills and the mill villages where people lived. e train depot and a boarding house also meant visitors came to Hope Mills and spent time on Trade Street. Today Trade Street is important to our town not only for historical rea - sons, but it is near our lake where many people congregate for a variety of activities so we are putting more emphasis on revitalization. is area, with new opportunities for funding, is in the early stages of planning for revitalization — I am excited to say that after early attempts to join the Main Street program did not materialize, we now have a new focus on Trade Street. We have new businesses willing to share in the vision along with our Historical Committee and Appearance Committees providing leadership. Our Economic Development Planner supports revitalization in this area and is looking for ways to make it happen. BELLFLOWERS: . Why would Hope Mills citizens vote for you as Mayor? I am totally committed to improving quality of life, economic development, public safety, recreational opportunities and preserving the history of our community. My vision includes addressing and finding workable solutions to fix infrastructure needs, traffic congestion and roadway improvements. ere is no question that addressing the many challenges that face our community will require results-driven leadership, creative thinking, build - ing cooperation and consensus, and a tremendous amount of teamwork. Our community deserves an effective town board, one that can work and com- municate together with a "collective vision" for future prosperity and one that demonstrates unselfish representation and pre-eminent leadership. I am committed to ensuring that Hope Mills continues to be a wonderful place for all people to live, work and raise their families. Hope Mills contin - ues to grow in residential and economic development growth. Managing this growth requires continued vision, planning and results-driven leadership. We need a vision with the passion, time and energy to continue to build a family- oriented community all of us are proud of today and years to come! I bring to the table many years of results-driven, proven leadership and pledge to listen to citizen issues and concerns, have an open mind on all decisions, and spend a significant amount of time researching community issues facing our com - munity. I am committed every day on enriching the lives of our town citizens by creating an exceptional community to work and live in while providing exemplary town services that enables our community to thrive and prosper, while leading our community as one we are proud to call home … this is my compass. is election is not about me … but all about YOU, your vision, issues and concerns! I respectfully ask for your vote on Nov 2nd. With Hope Mills Mayoral Candidates With Hope Mills Mayoral Candidates Editor's Note: All answers in this forum have been printed as submited by the Hope Mills mayoral candidates. e only edits have been for style and punctuation where needed. Each candi- date was given the same questions and the same requested word count for their responses. COMMENTS? editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

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