Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Camille Fontenot addressed the Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday to show her concerns over the Industrial Park and the lack of jobs in our parish. She said “Evangeline Parish is dying for the lack of jobs and industry”. She noted the industrial Park is 40 years old and said the tall grass at some of the sites is not appealing for potential industrial clients. She proposed to the police jury to engage the services of an architect from Baton Rouge to prepare a master plan for the industrial park and secondly find the funds to construct a waste water plant to treat the industrial waste from the park. Funds are available through the State Department of Economic Development from Cleco for areas serviced by Cleco.
Former District Attorney Brent Coreil also complained about some of the park sites such as the deserted National Guard armory site where the grass is not being cut and the windows are broken. He said we need to rejuvenate our site to make it presentable for future industries.
The jury approved a motion to our local legislative delegation to inquire in to the possible funding sources and if the parish is eligible to be granted some of these funds through the Department of Economic Development.
State Representative Bernard LeBas told the jury that he confirmed that Cleco has set aside $7 million dollars for economic development through the state for areas served by Cleco.
Dr. William “ToJo” Ward, Chairman of the Evangeline Parish Industrial Board, was more upbeat. “Our Industrial Park is industry ready and we will eventually land an industry tenant. Industries like Cameron, Cabot are truly blessings to our parish.”
In other business, Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine asked for the parish’s help in cleaning out drainage canals and laterals to help reduce flooding problems in the city.
Jurors explained to the mayor that the parish does not have tax funds to help pay for the cost of using equipment and labor inside the city. They can legally go help out the city but the parish will have to charge the city for the work done.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said the city does not have the large heavy equipment to do the work that needs to be done so she wanted the parish to step In under a cooperative endeavor agreement at no cost to the city.
Jurors explained to the mayor that the jury can handle the drainage work of the city canals but going into road side ditches is another matter all together. The jury agreed to help with the city canals but it may take up to a year for the work to be done.
In other action:
--advertised to lease new equipment like a limb cutter, track hoe and a mini-excavator;
--received news that the police jury was dismissed from any liability in the long running U.S. Justice Department investigation against the sheriff’s office and city police over the use of investigative holds used against suspects;
--re-appointed Bryan Bieber to the Prairie Mamou Drainage Board and Nat Thomas and Lyn Gooden to the 9-1-1 Board; and appointed Hilda Thomas to the Evangeline Council on Aging;
-- heard from Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron announce that the jury is still reviewing and studying the possibility of leasing Crooked Creek Park to private groups. He said no decisions will be reached until sometime next year.