By Juanice Gray and Carolyn Roy
Residents in Payne Subdivision are about to get long-awaited road maintenance. There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday to kick-off the project. The street project has been needed for many years and was made a priority project of the parish according to an announcement from Parish President Rick Nowlin.
The parish worked with its legislative delegation and the Governor’s office to get the project into the state capital outlay program. Phase I will consist of Payne Drive and part of Michelle Drive and will cost approximately $267,000 with $200,000 of that amount coming from state funds. The low bidder was Cross Keys Construction LLC of Shreveport in the amount of $200,426. Phase one Phase II is also in the capital outlay program and will cost approximately $400,000 with $300,000 of that state funds.
The parish funds are coming from the road tax approved by the voters years ago. Nowlin said the street rehabilitation project will include ditch work as seen early Thursday morning as construction got underway. “It is not a drainage project, but if we don’t get the ditches in a state where the water drains away from the road where it can start percolating and causing damage, we’ll have problems,” he said. Part of the ditch work could include cutting some of the concrete driveways.
“It may cause an inconvenience to residents for a few days, but the concrete will be replaced. It won’t be replaced with gravel,” he said. The second phase “…will be coming pretty quickly now. It’s been sent to the governor for signing. The state is putting up $3 for every $1 we put up,” Nowlin said Wednesday at the ceremony. “They’re putting up 75 percent. I think that’s pretty good. We’re working on funding for phase three to get the whole thing done.”
“The sewer project is in the design phase and we hope to have that complete by end of summer. Then it will go out for bid and get approval from the state this fall,” Nowlin said. That project is funded under CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) program.
“This project is 20 years in the making. No matter what, we are going to continue working to bring the resources here,” said Rep. Kenny Cox.
Rep. Terry Brown stated the cooperation of all the legislators in the area was paramount to the success of finally getting the project approved.
“This is what happens when people persevere, when people pray and when people don’t give up,” said Director of Public Works John Richmond. “There are a lot of times when people disagree with politicians in the state and in the parish but I can tell you the people who have spoken on your behalf, they don’t just like you, they love you. You don’t do this for your constituents, you do this for your neighbor.”