Hope Mills News

Parish hall debate mystifies Edwards

15Pat EdwardsHope Mills Commissioner Pat Edwards doesn’t understand the fascination her fellow board members have with preserving the aging parish hall that a previous board voted to demolish.

At last Monday’s meeting of the commissioners, the board voted to hire a structural engineer to evaluate the chances for restoring the building, part of the property donated to the town by the local Episcopal Church seven years ago.

Edwards questions the interest in the building given the town’s history of turning over many of its historic buildings to private entities.

She noted two prominent downtown buildings not far from the parish hall that are both currently owned by private businesses.

“They’ve given away or sold all the mills,’’ Edwards said. “Why all of a sudden is this parish building so important when they let other more historical buildings go? Why spend money we don’t have?”

Jeff Adolphsen, a senior restoration specialist with the North Carolina State Historical Preservation Office, recently inspected the parish hall. He said as buildings he’s inspected go, it was in better shape than many of them — but, he added, repairs will be needed in a number of areas.

Adolphsen said the building needs a new roof. There has also been water leaking down a chimney that was not flashed.

He indicated the aluminum siding on the building could be removed. He also found termite and water damage, and added the structural integrity of the timbers in the building appeared to be decent but could be improved.

He said the building likely needed to be treated for termite, fungus, mildew and mold problems, adding that the crawl space under the building appeared to be fairly dry.

Many of the problems were related to the fact that mechanical systems in the building had been shut off for some time. In addition to repairing problems associated with age and wear, Adolphsen said if the town plans to make the building available for access by the general public, it will have to made handicapped accessible.

He said that includes having parking spaces that meet certain size requirements, along with an unobstructed path to the front door and handicapped-friendly access to the building, the bathroom and other main areas.

He did not inspect the bathroom regarding modifications needed for handicapped access, but he did note the door to the bathroom was narrow and would need to be widened.

“As a preservationist, you try and minimize the changes or minimize the effect of the changes,’’ he said. “Ninety-nine percent of what we look at is what we call rehabilitation, where you are taking a historic building and you’re fixing it up for modern, efficient, contemporary use, but you’re keeping those features and finishes that make that building historic.’’

Adolphsen did not offer any figures on the cost of restoring the building. He did say some things would require a licensed contractor. “I told them I’ve seen buildings like that get rehabbed before,’’ he said. “I think it could be rehabilitated. They might be able to find some grants somewhere. They may be able to do some volunteer labor.’’

Edwards would like to hear from town staff before spending more money on the project. “We have qualified staff that could tell us if it could be saved or not,’’ she said. “It’s going to cost a lot of money regardless.’’

Photo: Pat Edwards

Gray’s Creek student raises $5,000 for charity

14Drew MenscerWhen Drew Menscer was assigned a project as an officer in the National Honor Society at Gray’s Creek High School, she had loftier goals than baking a cake to sell or getting a few items together to auction.

“I’m pretty athletic and I’m really into sports, so I decided to combine all of that,’’ the senior member of the school’s softball team said. “I wanted to give back to my community through that.’’

And give back she did. Menscer, with an assist from her mother, Nena Menscer, organized a charity golf tournament at nearby Cypress Lakes Golf Course.

The tournament was held on March 30 this year and drew a field of 17 teams, about 66 players. Menscer was also able to line up 22 sponsors for the tournament, with all the money they donated going to Menscer’s chosen charity, Rick’s Place.

Rick’s Place, according to a brief history on its Facebook page, was founded by the Rick Herrera Foundation. It’s a 50-acre park in Fayetteville that features fun high-quality activities for soldiers and their friends and families.

Menscer’s golf tournament raised $5,000, which she donated to Rick’s Place.

She said she got the word out about her tournament by posting fliers on social media and also sharing them with people in her neighborhood.

The whole project took about six months from the time she had her initial idea for a golf tournament until the tournament was held last month. 

Being a full-time student at Gray’s Creek plus playing softball, she admitted making the whole thing happen wasn’t easy.

“The hardest part was trying to get everything organized,’’ Menscer said. “If it wasn’t for my mom, I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off. It was tiring to work with my schedule, trying to pick up donations and figuring those things out. My mom had to help me a ton.’’

But Menscer hinted that business acumen runs in her family. “I have a lot of entrepreneurs in my family,’’ she said. “I just decided to do it.’’

Menscer said she doesn’t have strong ties to the military in her own family, but she was drawn to the project because of her friends with parents who are military-connected. “I know how hard it is for them,’’ she said. “That’s what influenced me the most.’’

As for her future, Menscer plans to enroll at Elon University this fall where she’s earned a scholarship to play softball. Not surprisingly, she wants to major in business.

“I’m grateful for the experience,’’ she said of the successful fundraiser. “We raised $5,000 for Rick’s Place, which I’m really proud of. I hope they can use it.’’

Photo: Drew Menscer

Edwards sees bright future for proposed Heritage Park

12Heritage ParkWhile the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners considers spending money on a temporary fix for the ongoing project to develop the former Hope Mills Golf Course, Commissioner Pat Edwards would like some money spent on the permanent completion of another town project.

Edwards recently toured the proposed Heritage Park land with town director of public works Don Sisko.

She took the tour a couple of days after the board debated spending $100,000 on what Edwards said would be a temporary fix of the golf course property.

“After we got through talking about it, I asked Don Sisko what $100,000 could do at Heritage Park as a permanent fix,’’ Edwards said.

Heritage Park is located near the Hope Mills dam and lake area and has historical ties to the community’s rich history as the home of textile mills. Edwards said Sisko replied that the $100,000 applied to Heritage Park would allow the town to do a lot of things.

To get a first-hand look at the potential for Heritage Park, Edwards said she reached out to Hope Mills town manager Melissa Adams to arrange a tour of the property for herself, with Sisko as her guide.

What she saw impressed her. Two members of the public works staff were working on the trails and greenways that the area offers.

“It’s the first time I’ve been all the way through it,’’ Edwards said. “He took me down to where the creek is. It’s just beautiful. The serenity.

“It’s wonderful.’’

Edwards said Sisko showed her four or five greenways leading through the park, along with an area that could be leveled out to accommodate picnic tables.

“For something like this, we wouldn’t have to consult or pay for an engineer to design it,’’ Edwards said. “We have staff that are very qualified to do this.’’

She added that Sisko has a lot of foresight and ingenuity when it comes to developing the park to its fullest potential. “He’s like a visionary,’’ she said.

There is also potential to share the history of the town’s roots as a mill village, Edwards said, while using it as an opportunity to bring more art to the community.

The old gates from the previous dam are still there on the grounds of the future park. According to Edwards, Sisko said they could be refurbished to be put on display. He also talked about the possibility of storyboards to tell more about the town’s past.

“There is a lot of history there, and a lot of work to be done,’’ Edwards said. 

While some of the area is rough and steep in places, Edwards said she managed to navigate it without a major challenge.

She would love to see Heritage Park completed and linked with the walkingareas at the dam and the lake, and eventually with the town museum that’s also being discussed.

“It would be so nice to walk from the lake over to Heritage Park,’’ she said. “I think the citizens of Hope Mills would rather see the money used that way than in a temporary fix somewhere else. That’s just me thinking.’’

While the existing trails in Heritage Park would need some work, Edwards said an effort should be made to keep the area as natural as possible. “It needs to stay like Mother Nature,’’ she said. “You don’t want to change too much.’’

For safety purposes, Edwards doesn’t think grilling should be allowed in the area because of the potential fire hazard.

Edwards encourages interested citizens to take a look at the property themselves by reaching out to town manager Adams about arranging a guided tour of the area. She said people should not try and visit the property on their own without permission. “I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt,’’ she said.

“Maybe they can see the possibility of what’s going on, how beautiful and how quiet,’’ Edwards said. “The scenery around it is just beautiful.’’

Veterans offered information on benefits

13VetsMany elder veterans and their families don’t have access to the internet and can’t tap into the many resources available to veterans and their families. That’s why the Veterans Affairs Committee of the town of Hope Mills is sponsoring a one-day Veterans Outreach on Saturday, May 3, to help get the word out.

The event is open to veterans anywhere who would like the chance to meet face-to-face with people who can provide them information about benefits available to veterans and their families and how to get them.

The event will be held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10630 at 3226 Davis St. in Hope Mills.

Jim Blevins, a member of the Hope Mills Veterans Affairs Committee, said many elderly veterans and their spouses aren’t computersavvy and aren’t aware of benefits that might be available.

“That’s what our main goal is, to try to reach out to those who don’t have a computer, or (to) widows who didn’t serve in the military, to understand what their benefits are.’’

There will not be a formal presentation or lecture about what benefits are available, Blevins said.

Various organizations will have representatives on hand to provide information, and those attending can come at their convenience and speak with the people who represent the various groups involved to ask specific questions and get information about the subjects they are most interested in.

A short list of those who will be present includes representatives of the Army and Air Force offices of mortuary affairs, the Lone Survivor Foundation, the American Red Cross, and the Cape Fear Veterans Medical Center.

“This is mainly to get phone numbers and contacts so we can move through as many people as possible,’’ Blevins said. He said there will be a total of about 15 different organizations on hand.

Blevins stressed that the event is not limited to veterans from the Hope Mills area. “It’s open to any veteran,’’ he said.

Grilley Mitchell, chairman of the Hope Mills Veterans Affairs Committee, said the intent is to “empower veterans and family members, make them aware of the benefits and services available that they qualify for.’’

In addition to the people connected with providing benefits, Mitchell said a number of local political leaders will be on hand.

“Many individuals don’t know who their local representation is in the event they need some help,’’ Mitchell said. “I want them to put a face with the name so when they do reach out they’ll have some familiarity with those individuals.’’

If anyone has questions about the event prior to May 3, they can contact Blevins at 910-853- 4587 or Mitchell at 910-476-3719.

Hope Mills schedules annual cleanup day May 4

11Hazardous waste illustrationIt’s that time again for residents of Hope Mills to get rid of hazardous waste and outdated sensitive documents. Saturday, May 4, the town holds its annual shredding and hazardous waste collection event, along with the annual litter sweep.

The shredding and hazardous collection will be from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., and the litter sweep takes place from 9 a.m. until noon. There is also a registration period for the litter sweep only beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Beth Brown, stormwater technician for the town of Hope Mills, said all the events will be basically the same as last year.

She reminds people coming to the shred event that the actual shredding of documents won’t take place on-site.

They will be picked up either later Saturday or as late as Monday to be transported elsewhere for the shredding.

If the material to be shredded has to be kept overnight before being removed, it will be locked inside containers and then stored in a secured, locked location in Hope Mills.

Residents may bring up to five boxes of material to be shredded. Paper products should be brought for shredding, but paper clips, binders and staples are also acceptable.

That Saturday will be a busy one for the town as the first Good 2 Grow farmers market will be taking place on adjacent property at the Town Hall complex.

For the shred event, the easiest point of access is the road between the police department (5776 Rockfish Rd.) and town hall (5770 Rockfish Rd.).

There will be sandwich boards in place to direct people coming as to the best place to enter the area off Rockfish Road.

Brown said the people collecting the hazardous waste prefer that those bringing material to drop off do not get out of their cars or trucks.

They should leave their material in the trunk or somewhere the workers collecting the material can easily access it. This is to keep traffic moving as smoothly as possible.

Those who would like to get out of their cars are asked to park in the back area of town hall and visit the farmers market.

To participate in the litter sweep, people need to sign up in advance at the Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Department, or at the 8:30 a.m. signup period the day of the event.

Children are welcome to take part in the litter pickup, but they need to be accompanied by adults, Brown said.

The parks and recreation staff will provide materials needed to help with the litter sweep, including gloves, bags, bottled water, safety vests and other items.

The town will identify specific areas that need to be cleaned up, or those participating can agree to clean up their own street or neighborhood.

“Most folks focus on a stretch of the larger streets,’’ Brown said. “We would like to get the whole town, townwide, cleaned with different groups of people.’’

For questions about the hazardous waste pickup and shred event, call town hall at 910-424-4555. For questions about the litter sweep, call the parks and recreation department at 910-424-4500.

WHAT TO BRING

From the workbench:

• Adhesives, glues, resins

• Hobby supplies, artist supplies

• Latex

• Oil paints

• Stains, thinners, stripper

From the garage:

• Car batteries, dry cell batteries

• Engine degreasers, brake fluids

• Transmission fluids

• Waste fuels (kerosene, gasoline)

From the yard:

• Insecticides, weed killers, poisons

• Pesticides

• Propane cylinders

• Swimming pool chemicals

• Wood preservatives

From the home:

• Aerosol cans

• Cleaners, spot removers

• Computers, electronic equipment

• Hearing aid (button-style) batteries

• Ni-Cad batteries

• Photo chemicals, chemistry sets

DO NOT BRING

• Ammunition, fireworks, explosives

• Infectious and biological waste

• Syringes

• Radioactive waste

• Unknown compressed gas cylinders

 

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