Well, Hope Mills held its first Community Roundtable last Thursday, sponsored by the Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce and Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper. Harmony at Hope Mills, the town’s newest assisted living community, hosted it. This meeting launched the first in a series of roundtable forums specifically designed to engage and inform residents about the future of the Hope Mills community.
Under the theme “Your Town, Your Future” residents came together to share their experiences, thoughts, comments and ideas. The evening started with an informal “Meet & Greet” hosted by Melannie Armstrong, director of marketing at Harmony. She and the staff did an excellent job bestowing “Harmony hospitality” on all the forum attendees. The meeting began promptly at 7 p.m. as we officially greeted the audience, made introductions and, literally, got to know every person in the room. We explained that the Hope Mills Community Roundtable is not a political venue; it’s not a place to gripe and complain, dump grievances or attack fellow citizens. The sole purpose is to provide a public forum where citizens can talk freely about the community and openly share thoughts and ideas while meeting the people, businesses and organizations that impact their town and their quality of life.
Jan Spell, president of the Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce, opened the forum by discussing the Chamber’s vision, mission, events and accomplishments. She made sure everyone understood the Chamber is committed to working in partnership with the town and growing and developing local businesses while aiding town officials in attracting new economic development opportunities.
She was followed by Cumberland County Commissioner Michael Boose, who did an excellent job bringing everyone up to date about what’s going on in the county and current issues and challenges and how they affect Hope Mills. Boose generated such positive energy and excitement into the meeting that he became the personification of the intent and purpose of the forum. One important point he made was that Hope Mills, one of the largest municipalities in the county, needs to be more involved with the county’s business. He suggested that Hope Mills residents sign up to represent the town on county boards and standing committees. From education to economic development, Boose provided and shared relevant information and insights that affect Hope Mills and its residents.
Then, the floor was opened for comments. I started the conversation by squelching the rumor that the Hope Mills YMCA was leaving the community. Alex Lewis, the Hope Mills YMCA director was on hand for that assurance. From concerns for our veterans and supporting organizations to the emergence of a Hope Mills cultural arts renaissance and the formation of the newly formed historical society, there is no doubt this town is on the move — and in the right direction.
The audience was receptive and engaged, and the forum’s atmosphere was professional, friendly, fun and relaxed. Questions were answered, rumors were dismantled and, most importantly, new friends were made. And, even though the Hope Mills Community Roundtable is not a political venue, we certainly appreciate the elected officials (and elected wannabes) who cared enough to come out to see and hear firsthand how their constituents feel about the community and the job they are doing.
Dates for the next two Hope Mills Community Roundtables, which will again be hosted by the wonderful folks at Harmony at Hope Mills, are Sept. 26 and Oct. 24. Mark your calendars and make plans to attend.
For more information contact the Hope Mills Chamber of Commerce at 910-423-4314, or call me at 910 391 3859. Hope Mills: Your voice, your town, your future.
Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly, Hope Mills’ community newspaper.
Picture 1: Under the theme “Your Town, Your Future” residents came together to share their experiences, thoughts, comments and ideas at the Hope Mills Community Roundtable. From concerns for our veterans and supporting organizations to the emergence of a Hope Mills cultural arts renaissance and the formation of the newly formed historical society, there is no doubt this town is on the move — and in the right direction.
Picture 2: Cumberland County Commissioner Mike Boose generated such positive energy and excitement into the meeting that he became the personification of the intent and purpose of the forum.