Written by: Elizabeth Blevins
Last night there was a rally for citizens who support Lone Survivor Foundation, and who want to encourage the Board of Commissioners to reconsider their stance on selling LSF a parcel of land. The group met at Grace Place Christian Church on Main Street and spent more than an hour discussing options. A petition has been created and they’re looking for signatures from any Hope Mills residents who support the cause.
The group included Terry Jung, executive director for LSF. Mr. Jung is convinced Lake Bed #2 is the perfect site for their new facility. “I have walked seven or eight different people on that ground who instantly feel the holistic environment that’s there and the healing that takes place there, that is beyond words.”
But Jung is also confused by the Board’s unwillingness to discuss the matter. The Public Hearing scheduled for August 20th was cancelled in a Special Meeting held a few weeks ago. And when Commissioner Larson was questioned by Bill Speight about the issue, she said ‘no means no’ and indicated the Board addressed the issue on three separate occasions and had no interest in discussing it further.
“I don’t want to fight a political war, I can’t afford to fight a political war because there are 22 plus people a day dying!” Mr. Jung has indicated there is a definite deadline looming, a point at which he has to move on to a community that would welcome them.
For the residents in attendance, it was frustrating. Lake bed #2 was abandoned by the town for more than 50 years. And despite protests from Commissioners Larson and Mitchell that it’s desperately needed for parks and recreation, that piece of property was not included in the list of properties the McAdams Group was asked to consider in their survey. Larson and Mitchell contacted the McAdams Group July 31st and asked them to include it, without discussing it with the rest of the Board. Several Board members have expressed concern, not just because they’re making a habit of going rogue, but because there could be additional costs to the tax payers since additional lands were added to the survey.
While one group of Hope Mills residents have been lobbying the Board of Commissioners to reconsider their stance and cooperate with LSF, another group has deployed slightly less ethical plans. Wednesday afternoon, a Hope Mills Commissioner sent an email to the Board and staff with a warning. A resident told him the rally scheduled for Thursday, was actually a protest which would spill into the streets before landing in the park and disrupt the food truck rodeo.
The staff, and Chief Acciardo of the Hope Mills Police Department, recognized the hoax for what it was and the rumor was squashed before it gained traction. But not before Commissioner Mitchell lobbied to have the food truck rodeo cancelled. It would seem Commissioner Larson also bought into the hype because she left the park last night with a two-man police escort.
If you’re interested in signing the petition please visit the Hopemills.net Facebook group for more information.
Have concerns about these issues? Contact the Board and let them know!