Manchester Renamed City Of Hope

By: Danielle Morgan Email
By: Danielle Morgan Email

They have a new mayor, a new sheriff, a new judge executive and nearly an entire new city council. Clay County and the city of Manchester had a big shake up in the November election and as a sign that things are changing to passers by, the city is being renamed.

62 churches and hundreds of community members hit the streets in 2004 to march against drugs and violence. Since then, several public leaders have pleaded guilty to federal drug charges and corruption in office. Pastors say drug addicts are filling the churches in search of sobriety and visitors say they sense a change.

An unprecedented crowd of nearly one hundred people went to the first city council meeting.

"We named our city the City of Hope because of all the things that have been happening since our drug march and forward, we just thought that was very fitting for our community,' said Manchester Mayor Carmen Lewis.

That statement alone is something many people never thought they'd hear.

"We could have easily put the city of hopelessness on the signs before," said Doug Abner, Community Church Pastor.

Even inmates from the regional jail, serving time for drug convictions, are surprised.

"It's been real bad for drugs. I used to come up here quite often," said Clay County Inmate Glennis Nantz.

"I never imagined it, the City of Hope," said Clay County Inmate Conley Cotton.

U.S. Attorney Amul Thapar says whether it's Clay County, or elsewhere, he's committed to keeping hope where it belongs.

"Public officials should know they're put in a position of significant trust by citizens and we intend to protect those citizens and ensure that they don't abuse that position of trust," Thapar said.

Next week, the signs will be unveiled on every highway leading into the city reading "Manchester, the City of Hope."

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