Hauser students have some big plans for what Hope needs to see its economy take off. Those range from the small, like a coffee shop, to the huge, including a multi-level mall and apartment complex.
The students brought their proposal to the Town Council at last month's meeting, outlining their thoughts on what would really make the town shine.
Students from a Hauser economics class had to come up with proposals to improve the town that included three types of businesses -- restaurants, stores and services.
Hauser senior Alysha Pitman unveiled her thoughts on a mini-mall, including stores that were aimed at a younger generation such as Buffalo Wild Wings and Forever 21. She also proposed adding a sister location to Nashville's handmade toy store, the Toy Chest.
"I have a lot of memories at this place as a child and in all of those memories, this place is packed," Pitman said. "I honestly don't know why this store doesn't have a sister location yet, but I feel like Hope would be a good place for it to."
Annie Ashbrook, a Hauser senior, proposed a nine-story mall with the top five floors dedicated to senior and public housing. She said the U.S. Census shows 20 percent of Hope's population is between the ages of 55 and 90.
"These people will have the prime opportunity to live in these housing additions above these businesses which will benefit them," she said.
The Council members thanked the students for their advice, citing the students as the future of the town. But the also gave the students some advice of their own.
Councilwoman Nellie Meek said she was looking forward to the multi-level mall and apartment complex. She said she is nearing the age where she sees the convenience of having all of her shopping just a few floors from her apartment.
Councilman Ohmer Miller said their plans are only the first step.
"Well, I'm not their teacher, but I think all of these students deserve an A," said Miller. "I think it is quite a commitment for them to get up here in front of a bunch of strangers."
"I think they had great ideas and that is just the beginning. The next part is to put them into action."
Council President Clyde Compton also praised the student's ideas.
"I also want you to realize that this council is working to make this town to the point that we can draw these people to the town," Compton said. "So if you see the road being blacktopped, the water is being done -- it takes all that to draw these businesses to the town. Your ideas are truly, truly great."
And Councilman Ed Johnson complimented the students but also put a challenge back to them.
"I heard somebody say the didn't know whether they would come back to Hope or not," Johnson said. "There is one way to make it better. That is for you to come back and to help put it together."