Wednesday, 10 February 2021 15:22

Hamlet City Council hears multiple presentations

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The lectern in the Hamlet City Council chamber didn't stay empty long Tuesday as several people made presentations before the board. The lectern in the Hamlet City Council chamber didn't stay empty long Tuesday as several people made presentations before the board. C.K. Craven - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — Presentations were the order of the evening as the Hamlet City Council opened the floor to attendees on Tuesday night.

Although two Council members, Abbey Covington and Oscar Sellers, were absent, a quorum of four councilmembers was established as Mayor Bill Bayless called the meeting to order.

After the customary moment of silence, adoption of the agenda and approval of the minutes from the January meeting, the Council immediately invited interested parties to approach the lectern for comments or questions.

Denise Cozart, representative of the community program S.W.E.L.L. — S.T.E.M. and Wellness Empowering Lifelong Learners — that operates out of the Dobbins Heights Community Center offered awareness and insight as to the opportunities provided by that operation.

Established S.W.E.L.L. programs include initiatives such as hydroponics (growing food without soil); an electronic sports league; a focus on services for senior citizens; workforce readiness; and, in conjunction with Richmond Community College, educational sessions for Pre-K, middle and high school students.

The second presentation was conducted by Tim Hayes of Impact Communities, owners and operators of the Hamlet Mobile Home Park on US. 74 W. Business, where plans have been drawn for development and associated adjustments. 

Having received preliminary approval from the Hamlet Planning and Zoning Board for the rezoning that would be required to develop and expand the park, Hayes provided the Council with further detailed information regarding the foreseen needs for infrastructure enhancements and specifics.

After close scrutiny of the plans and requirements associated with the project, the Council unanimously approved the request.

Next was a telephone call-in from Hamlet citizen Gerard Morrison who voiced several insightful observations regarding Black History Month. 

Morrison noted that, although the accomplishments of many African Americans from Hamlet have been duly recognized — including renowned jazz musician John Coltrane, noted by a downtown mural and historical marker, and the several professional athletes who are listed at Memorial Park — there remain others who are equally deserving but have not been sufficiently noted.  

Among these are a flyer for the famed Tuskegee “Red Tails” Airmen, and Fred Branch, the first African American officer in the Marine Corps. Morrison strongly urged the Council to consider steps to remedy these oversights.

Morrison also reiterated his desire for the City of Hamlet to implement district representation, contending that such would better ensure equitable public voices in local government.

Council closing comments included urging payment of back property taxes (the City noted overdue taxes of almost $200,000) and for all residents to take advantage of a COVID vaccine when the opportunity arises.

The next meeting of the Hamlet City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9 at 7 p.m.