Boys and Girls Club to return

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By Carolyn Roy, carolyn@natchitochestimes.com

Published Jan. 14, 2021

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It appears that the void left when the Boys and Girls Clubs closed about four years ago could soon be filled. Vanner Erickson, director of recruiting at Northwestern State, and Laura Lyles, president of the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, told the City Council Monday evening that Boys and Girls Club of Acadiana hopes to open in Natchitoches in the fall. Erickson said the effort the reactivate the youth activity club has been underway for the last two years.

The City will direct $20,000 from the budget to the club with the board of 14 people participating in fundraising. The club will seek use of the MLK Recreation and Community Center as well as part of the field across the street and parts of the Ben Johnson Center. The Acadiana club will operate the local club and hire the employees. Funds raised will remain local. Lyles said the club could be operational this summer but should be full-fledged in the fall. She sees the club as a way to advance education, deter crime and develop the work force.

The board members include Dr. Grant Eloi, Gwen Cupp, Lisa Harris, Howard Conday, Dr. Katrina Jordan, the Rev. Steve McCalister, Dr. Greg Handel, Amy Metoyer, Dr. Carmella Parker, Mark Smith, De’Aandrea Sanders, Emilyn Horton, Reba Phelps, Rachel Proctor, Forest Middlebrooks and ex-officio member Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr.

In other business, the council introduced an ordinance to refinance three utility bonds that will save the City an estimated $200,000 and shorten the life of the bonds. The $4 million in bonds will mature in 2030 instead of 2035. The refinancing has been approved by the La. Bond Commission.

Also introduced was an ordinance that will allow merchants in two economic development zones to apply for a rebate of a use tax on items they purchase. The City passed an additional one-cent sales tax to be added to purchases in two economic development zones that include Interstate 49 and two hotels.

The additional tax is to used to fund operations and maintenance of Parc Natchitoches. It was originally intended to be “passed along” to tourists but wording in the legislation cited it as being a use tax that had to also be applied to merchants in the zone.

This new ordinance provides a way for those merchants to apply for a rebate of taxes they paid on their purchases.

In other business, the council:

•Approved a zoning change at 311 Royal St., for Christ the King Lutheran Church lot from R-1 to B1 so it can continue for commercial use

•Gave final vote for Red Sky Adventures LLC, The Mariner’s, to lease property on Sibley Lake

•Introduced ordinance for city to annex 13 acres owned by Braxton Keyser LLC on La. Hwy. 494 near Dimension Development

•Accepted change order for $575,000 from Regional Construction for street rehabilitation project

•Supported application of grant to replace aging galvanized water main that is about 50 years old

•Supported grant from fire department

•Authorized bids for caustic soda for water treatment plant

•Named Mayor’s Health and Fitness Council including Johnny Barnes, Jameel Courtney, Debra LaCour, Tom Matuschka, Mike Moulton, Blane Murphy, Dominique O’Con, Claire Prymus, Linda Queen, Alex Rodriguez, Betty Sawyer-Smith, Lisa Wiggins, Tiffany Williams and advisor Femula Bradley

City offices will close Jan. 18 to observe Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. The next council meeting will be Jan. 25.