HOPE – Many who attended Tuesday’s standing-room-only meeting of the Hope Town Council voiced three objections to a proposed Dollar Tree and Family Dollar combo store: location, location, location.
Developer Courtney Galyan says Tharp Investments, Inc. of Indianapolis want to construct a 10,000 square-foot, $2 million retail complex southeast of the intersection of Main Street (State Road 9) and South Street in Hope.
Currently, the 1.47 acres property consists of a large, grassy hill that rises to an historic 2,216 square foot home at 10021 N. State Road 9. It was purchased last July by Tharp from Alice and Karen Burchett, according to county records.
Community leader and retired dentist Dr. Jonathan Harker says the house was built over a log cabin that is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in the community.
Approval of the project would create about 12 part-time and full-time jobs, Tharp vice-president Elaine Farhood told the council.
If the project is green-lighted, Galyan said it would result in the demolition of the historic home and the leveling of the hill itself. But Farhood said her company has no desire to remove the semi-private swimming pool located east of the proposed development.
Farhood said that after his firm reviewed every possible site, both he and the retailers consider the Main and South street location the most optimal site. Gaylan noted it would be within a walkable distance for many within the community of 2,100 residents.
But businessman Gary Dodd said that while his family owns much of the property along Main Street on the town’s south side, he was unaware of inquiries being made by Tharp representatives on other potential sites.
“I don’t think another store like that is needed,” Dodd said.
When the developers completed their presentation, they heard several concerns regarding heavy traffic congestion from a number of Hope residents that include council member Ed Johnson, as well as Harker and Dodd.
Johnson brought up the fact that students within the Flat Rock – Hawcreek School Corp. use the sidewalk on the east side of Main Street. The combo store would increase the possibility of young people being run over if traffic levels increase, he said.
Incoming and outgoing traffic would use South Street, while an exit onto Main Street would be located at the southwest corner of the property, according to a conceptual site plan provided to the council.
In addition, Johnson said South Street already carries considerable traffic from both large and small businesses.
“It’s a dangerous corner, it really is,” the council member said.
Harker said he worried drivers on northbound State Road 9 would not see slowed or stopped traffic in front of the store as they come over a decline until it’s too late to avoid a collision.
“To me, this would be the least favorable spot to place a business,” Harker said.
About 30 to 40% of the items sold at the combo store will be home goods and groceries, Farhood said. There will also be a lawn and garden area, followed by the Dollar Tree items that includes kitchenware, home decor, school supplies, pet supplies, stationary and close out merchandise, the developer said.
A public hearing will be held before the Hope Plan Commission after Tharp files for a specific land classification, town officials said.
All property owners within 300 feet of the proposed development will receive notification of the meeting through the mail, the officials said.