This is by no means a comprehensive list of things that have happened in Hope Mills during 2018. It’s probably not even limited specifically to 2018, because some things take place over a couple of years, and even after all that time, some of those things never happen in the end. But this is a rough list of remembrances of prominent things past as we all look forward into 2019 and beyond. Maybe it will end up being the ubiquitous 10, who knows? We’re not trying to force it. If you’ve got a better list or contributions of something we missed, feel free to add it.
- The dam at the lake was finally completed and heavy rains filled the lake before anyone really expected it to be filled. So even though it’s not technically finished with the final build-out, the lake park has already hosted several town celebrations and special days hosted by other local groups. Geese and seagulls love it as much as canoeists and kayakers and sunbathers.
- The dam designers and builders won a national annual award for dam architecture and dam building. The dam lived up to its award, surviving through two hurricanes and a few extensive storm systems that shut down schools and businesses and churches, and brought much flooding to the area. The previous dams did not withstand much flooding. This one seems to be of much sturdier stock than those.
- New businesses have opened around town, and a few gone.
Dirtbag Ales is moving to Corporation Drive. Surge Trampoline Park is in the old Bi-Lo. Cape Fear Discount Drugs is beside the Pizza Hut. Clinic Pharmacy near the lake has new owners and they’ve completed some renovations. There’s still talk of Chick-fil-A opening, now in 2020. Byrne’s Mill Place bed and breakfast is open in Gray’s Creek. The catering arm of The Diner by Chef Glenn was voted best catering company in Fayetteville. Stone Proof of Hope Mills Magazine started up. Hardee’s is new on Legion Road, and a Waffle House is coming along too. Advance Auto Parts and the Short Stop on different ends of town reopened after multiple floodings. CresCom Bank reopened after severe drive-thru damage. Rita’s Grocery & Bait looks like it’s going to get DOT’ed over. And even though they’re not new, a lot of familiar businesses and civic organizations we’ve all grown to depend on and appreciate like the ALMS House and local churches and are still continuing on.
- While the board works toward figuring the best outcomes for the parks and recreation department now and into the future, the town moved toward reopening the golf course for small-scale recreational activities, and toward building a new police/fire safety building. Damage repairs to the Parks & Recreation Center have been going on since late summer, and the early voting site was moved to Gray’s Creek Rec Center this year. It’s expected to reopen soon.
- The town board, comprised of three 2017 incumbents and three newly-elected commissioners, voted month in and month out against some things, including selling town property, and for some things, such as stronger sign ordinances and town protocols. The townspeople only voted on one ballot issue this year: whether to extend commission terms to 4-year staggered terms, or leave them at the current 2-year, everybody campaigns setup. The voters decided to leave things as they have been for years, as far as terms are concerned.
- Road construction continues all along 59/Main St. from beyond 301 through town to 162. Medians are all the DOT middle-of-the-road rage lately. Google Maps still thinks you can make lefts where you really can’t, so beware. There’s a new lane shift change at Camden Rd. and Hope Mills Rd. that people seem to be used to, and talk about roundabouts at Golfview and Rockfish, and of adding lanes in other places as the state continues building out the 295 loop around the county.
- South View High School received an Exceeded Academic Growth award from the state. Donations from alumni and local businesses helped renovate the weight room, as well as support plenty of organizations along the way. The Tigers’ football team finished 11-3 and made it to the East semi-finals. Donovan Brewington became the first county quarterback to throw for 3000 yards in a season and he’ll be a quarterback in the Shrine Bowl. JV football was undefeated in the conference. The boys’ cross country won their conference meet for the 21st straight year, and the girls’ won their fifth straight. The girls’ track team also won their conference in the spring.
Overall, there were a lot of positive things that happened around town in 2018. This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means. If you want to find things that are wrong about this list or Hope Mills, that shouldn’t be too hard. Just don’t overdo the effort and strain out the good. If you have any important issues that we missed, or that were more important to you, let us know. Hopefully, we can all make 2019 better than 2018 and 2020 better than both for ourselves and each other.