A preliminary downtown revitalization plan is now in the hands of the Hope Town Council.
In order to qualify for state grants, by next month, the council members will need to decide whether to accept the plan or how much of it they would like to adopt.
The plan was produced by Storrow Kinsella Associates, along with Columbus architect Louis Joyner, under the guidance of Main Street of Hope. Funds for the development of the plan came from a $40,000 grant awarded to the town last year through the federal Small Cities and Towns Community Development Block Grant program.
The project looks at ways to market the community, to capitalize on Hope's cultural heritage and to implement Hope's vision for the future.
That vision, developed over interviews with key stakeholders and several public meetings, includes larger projects such as a revamp of the park in the Hope Town Square, and smaller projects such as better historic signage around the square.
At last week's Town Council meeting, the board was presented with a draft "guidebook" -- 58 pages of suggestions and documentation.
Council members were assured that even if they adopt the plan in whole or in part, the town is not obligated to actually complete all of the work inside. Rather, by submitting the report and the application, the town could qualify for more than $400,000 in grant funds. And after those grant funds are awarded the community could then decide which of the projects to tackle.
The council has until its July meeting to make a decision on the preliminary plan, in order to meet the August grant application deadline.