By LYNDON GERMAN of The Hopewell News
Hopewell residents have been anticipating going downtown to enjoy the Guncotton Coffee Shop and Art Gallery ever since the Hopewell Downtown partnership held its state of the downtown address on Jan. 19 of this year. Nearly 150 residents appeared in the newly refurbished building and hoped to go there again but since then, they continue to wait.
The Guncotton project is the first economic development project for community action agency CAPUP (Capital Area Partnership Uplifting People). Together the organization’s President Thomas Wagtaff, CAPUP’s Board Members and the Hopewell Downtown Partnership invested just a little more than $1.2 million in the old Broadway Motor Co. That funding is coming from multiple fund sources, according to Wagstaff.
He reported the numbers as follows: a little northwards of $500,000 from CAPUP, $100,000 from the Downtown Partnership with state funding making up the remaining differences. With that contribution the question remains, what’s stopping Guncotton from firing on all cylinders?
Wagstaff claims that in order to buy new equipment for the kitchen areas, he was relying on a grant from the state through The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation. That grant has yet to be rewarded to CAPUP explained Wagstaff who applied through the City of Hopewell to obtain the grant.
“The board and I have work on this for some time, and we’re at the point now where I suggested we go by the equipment ourselves whether you have the money now or later,” the organization’s president stated.
Assistant City Manager Charlie Dane shared more on the matter. First he clarified that the City of Hopewell is not contributing any funds to the Guncotton building. The city wants to help Wagstaff but before they can award the grant the he must meet certain requirements.
“We’ve got to figure out how to make this work so that it meets certain grant requirements,” Dane said noting that the Downtown area needs a coffee shop and hopes that the two parties can figure something out.
Read the rest of the story from The Hopewell News here.