Urban Renewal Agency Meeting - July 20
On July 20th, 2021, the Urban Renewal Agency of Mountain Home met to discuss budgeting, the Bealls’ building, the Hub building, and the possibility of a new URA district.
The Urban Renewal Agency had owned the building since 2011 when they had purchased it for $235,000. The Bealls’ chain leased the building for their department store, which was renovated by the URA for $700,000. Bealls’ ended their lease in late 2019, and thus the building was closed. The Urban Renewal Agency then accepted a proposal from Elmore Development LLC and Porter House Inc. to renovate the building and prepare it for a Trade School that offers several apprenticeship programs.
At the meeting, the URA considered how the funds from the sale of the Bealls’ building would be used in the budget and for future development.
They also discussed the development of the Hub building. The building was purchased by the Urban Renewal Committee in 2018 for $275,000. Currently, they are working on the abatement of the building which is a lengthy process. There have been discussions of having the Mountain Home Museum come into the building and tag and document anything of historical value. They had also expressed the need to remove any asbestos from the building, and plans for future demolition. The Agency hopes to demolish the building by the end of 2021, however, they recognized the need for a strategy to alleviate any potential headaches involving traffic in the area.
A large focus for the meeting was the end product of the Hub building. Currently, the URA is working with surrounding businesses for the possible expansion of the planned building. The goal is to have significant indoor event space for events like weddings. “We’re not trying to make something good, we’re trying to make something spectacular.”
The agency also discussed the opportunity for rentals, and while the intentions focused mostly on commercial space, the possibility for residential space was mentioned.
Parking was noted as a major concern of the public, but the members of the meeting agreed that “there is plenty of parking in downtown Mountain Home”. They did address the concerns of local businesses of disability access, but the members of the meeting addressed that concern by investing in sidewalks to make the area more accessible. It also was noted that if parking were an issue a year from the meeting, it would be on their radar.
The URA also discussed the possibility of a new district to take advantage of new growth coming in from the West of town. The consensus was that the agency would work on that in the future, but collaboration with the city government will be necessary.