Pan Am paving underway

Regional Construction equipment rolled into the Pan Am Subdivision on Hwy 1 South this week to begin the street rehabilitation process. Photo by Hannah Richardson

By Carolyn Roy,

As promised by Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. and the City Council, Railroad, Hill and Genti streets in the Pan Am Subdivision are being rehabilitated. Regional Construction had the low bid of $560,861. The project also includes Monroe Drive on Sibley Lake that was proposed by former Mayor Lee Posey if residents would agree to be annexed. Genti was part of the original contract that was expanded to include Railroad and Hill after Pan Am residents said their streets should get preference since they had been in the City longer than Monroe Drive.

Williams and the City Council agreed and added Railroad and Hill at a cost of $61,141. Local real estate agent Juanita Fowler retired in May of last year as the City of Natchitoches Planning and Zoning Commission director. She is one of the main reasons the Pan Am streets were moved to the top of the City’s street maintenance program. In October, Fowler gave a convincing argument at a City Council meeting about why Pan Am streets should be added to the street rehabilitation project.

After her presentation, Mayor Williams, said while the Monroe Street deal was made before he was elected, he agreed that the Pan Am streets should be priority. Fowler has tracked the progress and is pleased that major drainage problems have been addressed such as cutting the ditches and installing new culverts. “My mother-in-law is one of the oldest residents in that subdivision that was developed in the late 1940s. I have other relatives living there and I lived there myself,” Fowler says.

She said that the streets have had little if no maintenance since the area was developed. “It is improving not only morale but also access,” Fowler says. “It makes the neighborhood more viable and corrects problems that have not been addressed in many years.” Fowler says the streets were long overdue for improvement and the rehabilitation will definitely make a difference.

“The streets will be more accessible for city services – mail delivery, garbage and trash collection, fire and police and the existing open ditch drainage will absolutely be improved. Everyone, whether residents or visitors, will appreciate having good access to and from their homes.”

Published Jan. 21, 2021