“The town should have begun renovations on the historic parish hall that was donated to the town five years ago and has declined due to lack of preventative maintenance, Larson said. She also said the work at the lake park should have been completed by now, and would have been if the design plans had been done correctly. The design came back with an 8-foot boardwalk drawn into the plans that Larson said the current board did not approve. Construction of the boardwalk was being pushed by the mayor and would have doubled the cost of the project, according to Larson.”
I’m not going to fill this article with screen shots of each statement. Instead I’m going to direct you HERE. This will walk you through the steps of downloading and viewing either the official minutes or the videos of the relevant meetings. And we’ll discuss the Parish House and Larson’s lies about the staff and the Mayor in a future article because we’ve already addressed them HERE.
June 5, 2017 – The previous board reviewed sketches from Withers & Ravenel regarding Phase I of the Lake park
July 24, 2017 – The previous board voted unanimously to approve a contract with Fleming & Associates for structural engineering for the new dock/pier, a portion of the board walk and bulkhead at the boat ramp.
August 7, 2017 – Melissa Adams reported that Fleming & Associates began work on concept #3 drawings
October 9, 2017 – The previous board unanimously approved a bid from Span Builders LLC in the amount of $273, 900 for the construction of the pier and bulkhead/boardwalk up to the boat ramp at Lake Park. Construction began the week of October 23, 2017.
There are two key issues here:
1st, the previous board moved efficiently and quickly towards a single goal and completed the work. 2nd, the Mayor didn’t vote on any of these issues.
January 25, 2018 – During a special meeting this board met and discussed Phase II of the Lake Park. Mitchell inquired whether grant money was available for Phase II of the lake project. Melissa Adams told him they’d been denied a grant.
February 5, 2018 – During her manager’s report, Melissa Adams notified the board that Withers & Ravenel should have final concept plans for Phase II of the Lake Park in about two weeks.
February 19, 2018 – The board considered Resolution 2018-04, exempting engineering for the Lake Park Phase II from the requirements of GS CHPT. 143, Art. 3D and to authorize the town manager to negotiate a contract with Fleming & Associates on the submitted proposal.
Mitchell suggested the board wait for the Plan from McAdams Group before taking action.
Mayor Warner reminded the board they already paid for the plans from Withers & Ravenel and they had been moving forward.
Larson expressed her concerns with the eight-foot boardwalk and irrigation system.
The board voted unanimously to table the discussion.
March 5, 2018 – Once again the board considered Resolution 2018-04. Bellflowers cautioned the board not to delay. Mayor Warner cautioned the board not to tie Fleming’s hands with design limitations.
But Larson asked if Fleming could provide the town with different designs. Recall she took issue with the 8-foot boardwalk. Bellflowers said he’d researched the need of an 8-foot boardwalk and found it was approved by the staff as an ADA accessibility compliance.
Once again Mayor Warner commented and agreed with Bellflowers reiterating they needed a plan to move forward with the project. But Larson suggested the board table the conversation…again. They tabled it.
March 19, 2018 – One final time the board considered Resolution 2018-04. “Mayor Pro Tem Mitchell commented the Board should wait to take action until the Parks
& Recreation Comprehensive Plan is completed before we bid out the engineering work
so the Town may receive grant monies in an effort to lessen the burden on tax payers.”
Not once, but twice, Mayor Warner urged the board to move forward and not delay.
Mitchell was so pleased with his motion to table the issue until McAdams came back with a comprehensive plan, he posted a link to a news article which mentioned it….
March 27, 2018 – Commissioner Bellflowers requested a Special Meeting for the board to discuss Phase II of the Lake Park.
Commissioner Mitchell asked if McAdams Group was able to provide the town with information regarding available grants. Melissa Adams explained the project wasn’t eligible for a PARTF grant for the bulkhead. PARTF grants apply to recreational upgrades and the bulkhead is only for erosion control.
Mitchel inquired about the likelihood of the town receiving a grant and Melissa Adams responded that the town isn’t eligible.
I didn’t accidentally type that twice. He asked it twice and forced Melissa Adams to answer twice. In a row. Like, he didn’t get it the first time. He also asked it on January 25th and received the same answer.
Mitchell then reminded the board someone on the prevailing side would have to rescind their vote for them to move forward. But he also said he didn’t support spending tax dollars on the project and did not rescind his vote. Fortunately, Commissioner Legge had a change of heart and rescinded his vote, allowing Bellflowers to make a motion to move forward with the engineering process for the Lake Park to include a bulkhead featuring an ADA accessible entry point to the swim area. The motion passed, but Mitchell voted against it.
April 16, 2018 – Stephen Fleming of Fleming & Associates met with the board to answer questions. Mitchell asked if the bulkhead could be designed without the boardwalk and Larson asked if the boat ramp could provide the ADA access point required by law.
“Both designs would be comparable in cost”
July 23, 2018 – Melissa Adams reported that Public Works staff and members of the Lake Advisory Committee have previewed the drawings provided by Fleming
August 20, 2018 – Fleming provided a power point presentation to the board. Mitchell made a motion to add a handicap ramp near the launch and options for one or two stairs and remove the swim platform. It passed unanimously.
December 3, 2018 – Don Sisko addressed the board indicating Mr. Fleming understood the town was now tasking him with being in full compliance with ADA requirements. One full year later!
The necessary changes would include a handicap accessible ramp in lieu of steps and a hardened landing area for the kayak launch. The board voted unanimously to approve these changes to the design.
January 7, 2019 – The town began to receive bids for Phase II of the Lake Park.
January 22, 2019 – The board voted to spend $460.946 to M&E Construction. The contracts were signed in February and construction began a few months later. The project is now done.
This board had one job…let Melissa Adams bid out the contract. The previous board had already agreed on a design and when this board was sworn in Fleming & Associates was already working on that design. If they’d moved forward in February 2018 they’d have finished by July 2018. One year ago!
But Mitchell wanted to wait for the final Comprehensive Plan from McAdams…the same plan this board received two weeks ago!
And Larson was the only board member to object to the boardwalk. In her December 2018 outburst she called the plan ‘overbuilt’. She’s also claims the boardwalk would double the costs.
We know the design was going to cost the same with or without a boardwalk. But they never bid out plans with a boardwalk, so we don’t actually know what the plan would have cost. Larson lied.
Warner didn’t vote, and she didn’t delay the project. They did.
If you review the votes from each set of minutes you’ll discover a shocking fact…Mayor Warner has NEVER voted on Phase II of the Lake Park. Not one time. She urged them not to delay, she urged them to consider the plans dictated to Fleming by the previous board, and she urged them to not tie Fleming’s hands with design restrictions.
Larson is a hypocrite who accuses the Mayor of being guilty of the very bad behaviors she and Mitchell are guilty of.
Why? To whittle away Warner’s support system in an effort to give Mitchell a chance of winning the election.
If you’re political platform is “I’m the lesser of two evils” you shouldn’t be running for office. And if you’re biggest supporter thinks you can’t win without first destroying the reputation of your only opponent, you need more supporters.
Monday marked the one year anniversary of this site.
I had hoped that by providing a source of accurate information to the people, other than the lies and misinformation Mitchell and Larson were spreading on social media, we could change the face of Hope Mills Politics.
I’m not sure if I’m more shocked at their willingness to lie to their supporters, or the willingness of their supporters to accept those lies without ever asking for proof of anything.
In 124 days the new board will be sworn in and Larson and Mitchell will be gone. Their term will be remembered as a dark spot in Hope Mills history, one in which veterans were attacked the disabled were ignored, and our hard-earned tax money was wasted. They’ve tried to give away our parks and recreation program, alienated and bullied the staff, pandered to their friends and slandered their fellow board members…as well as a few journalists.
If you’re still on the fence and don’t know how you want to vote…I recommend you watch some of the videos from the past 20 months. Or read the minutes from their meetings. Or demand they prove anything they’ve said!