Mayor Lee Posey made a statement at the pre-council meeting before residents spoke out against Ordinance #065 authorizing an option to purchase property at 1128 Williams Avenue for a period of nine months. The City Council wants the property because the City is working with the State to locate and acquire a site for a temporary bridge across Cane River Lake. The property has been appraised at the value of $204,000; and the property owner has agreed to accept $9,000 cash as compensation for the Option to Purchase the property, which said amount will be credited to the purchase price if the City exercises the option.
“The Department of Transportation and Development looked at this site for a temporary or permanent bridge years ago in the 1960’s,” said Posey. “This site is for sale right now. We feel it will save somebody money if we go through and buy this house. There will still be public environmental impact hearings. The State told us it would be a one-two year process and we have been in it for six months. When the public hearings occur there will be three options; one will be that a temporary bridge will be built while they take down and put back up the Church Street Bridge, the second will be a permanent bridge will be built while they take down and put back up the Church Street Bridge and the third will be maintaing one lane of the Church Street Bridge with exception of a week here or there.”
Councilman David Stamey then spoke stating “This could effect my district, district one, significantly, which is why I like option three.”
Brady Williams then addressed the council about his concerns with the placement of a temporary or permanent bridge at the proposed property. He is lawyer and lives at 1054 Williams Avenue. “Your going to get people killed,” said Williams. “You will make me money but you are going to get people killed. Your wanting to put a T-bone intersection on a blind curve. That will cause accidents. People already fly down that road.” I am very concerned as a parent of three small children. I believe it to be a real danger. People will walk across that bridge temporary or not and there are not any sidewalks. This is a serous public safety issue. I am also curious about the appraised value of $204,000 for that house. It is not in good condition. I want to know if this figure is based of fair market value.”
Posey responded by stating there would be time to talk about these concerns at the public environmental impact meeting.
John Luster addressed the council about his concerns with the placement of the bridge in residential area. He a lawyer and lives across from the Church Street Bridge on Williams Avenue.
“This is the third time I have seen an effort to put a bridge in a residential neighborhood in Natchitoches,” said Luster. The first time it was proposed that one be built from Texas Street. The second time it was proposed that one be built from Mil Street to South Williams. Both projects didn’t happen because the bridge would be going through a residential neighborhood. My Son’s home is 1124 Williams adjacent to this property and my office is next to it. I think this is the wrong place to put a bridge. It will destroy are sense of community. The first scene in Steel Magnolias is Daryl Hannah walking down a long road with live oaks. If this bridge is placed on this lot that will be destroyed. I thin k it is the wrong answer culturally for our community. I hope you can see what this is going to do to the people living over there.”
Ralph Ingram addressed the council about his opinion on where the bridge should be placed. He lives at 905 Williams Avenue.
“I think we need to think about the future. I know you do. We all know that traffic goes to Keyser Avenue. Put the money for the new bridge in the right place at the end of Williams Avenue. Put a bridge around town not through town.”
Posey responded by saying this is a priority and they are in a eight year process of pushing Hwy 6/ Grand Ecore to Williams Avenue to Blanchard Road to Keyser Avenue. “Everyone thinks that if there is a temporary bridge then there will be a permanent bridge,” said Posey. “That is not the case you have to state whether it is temporary or permanent in the beginning of the process.”
#001 Approved: Proclamation Declaring Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
#002 Approved: Proclamation Declaring the Month of January, 2016 as Arbor Day
ORDINANCES – FINAL:
#062 Approved: Ordinance Authorizing Mayor Lee Posey To Execute An Agreement With The Louisiana Office Of Community Development For The FY 2014-2015 Community Water Enrichment Fund (CWEF) For Improvements To The Natchitoches Water System To Replace Water Lines And Service Taps Along Pierson, Payne, Julia, Lafayette And Rusbo Streets.
#063 Approved: Ordinance Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches To Award The Bid For Water Tower Submersible Mixers Pax 400 And Pax 100 (Bid No. 0575).
#065 Tabled: (David Stamey and Sylvia Morrow voted no creating a two-two tied vote. Morrow then motioned for the vote to be tabled and Stamey Seconded.) Ordinance Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches, Lee Posey, To Execute An Option To Purchase On Behalf Of The City Of Natchitoches Which Will Give The City The Option To Purchase Property At 1128 Williams Avenue From Wayne Arlo Sibley, Et Al, For A Period Of Nine Months For The Consideration Of Two Hundred Four Thousand Dollars, To Provide For Advertising, And A Savings Clause.
Sarah Luster addressed the council about her request to table the vote.
“Many concerns have been spoken about but I haven’t heard one about the money,” said Luster. “One cost that hasn’t been mentioned is the cost to demolish the building that stands on the other side of Cane River Lake from this property. Also the temporary bridge on Keyser became a permanent one so there has been a past with temporary bridges becoming permanent. I wish there would have been more notice. I request to table to the vote.”
David Stamey responded by stating “ I have received four other calls since last Thursday. A lot of people didn’t know about this. It is a shame that the community doesn’t keep up with City Council but I did receive feedback, all negative. It is not a secret that this will be bad for District 1. This is a tough decision because we king of jumped around in the process to save money. That is why it seems out of order. Feedback has been negative because this has been out of order. Usually there would have been a couple of open meetings and there still will be. Just because we have taken the option out on a piece of property doesn’t mean this bridge will happen.”
Director of Community Development Randy Lacaze interjected “It would kill this town if the Church Street bridge came down. This plan came from trying to avoid that.”
Posey responded by stating “The Church Street Bridge is inspected every six months to make sure it is safe. The DOTD was shocked at how much traffic goes across that bridge everyday. We don’t want the Church Street Bridge to come down and bottle neck this town.”
Mims asked “Have we asked if they would put the money down at the end of Cane River?”
Posey responded by stating “I think everyone wants the bridge to come down though the dam and we are moving towards that goal.”
Eddie Harrington addressed the council about his concern with the number of phone calls he received about he bridge.
“As district one councilman elect I have received a number of phone calls from my district. To reiterate what Stamey said they have all been negative. If the vote is approved will it grant you to spend the money to purchase the property?”
Posey responded by stating “This only allows us the option. We try to spend anyones money but our own.”
Harrington responded by stating “What I am weary of is that the money will be spent without public consent.”
Mims said “I don’t think it will be spent until we have meetings.”
Bill Maley addressed the council about his concern for his property. He lives at 1212 Williams Ave.
“My wife Dee and I got a phone call this morning on this,” said Maley. “ Thse options have a bad habit of becoming reality. What I would like to see for grins is y’all siting in my front yard at 3 p.m. On a school day and watch the traffic. Like nay other taxpayerI don’t want this in my back yard. I don’t want it in my damn yard. I just don’t like getting a phone call from a circle of lawyers. That isn’t public input.”
City Attorney Ronald Corkern responded by stating “If they don’t take the option that house remains on the market. So if someone buys that house and makes improvements instead of being a price the city can afford we wouldn’t be able to buy it. The only thing this vote does is give them the option to.”
Maley asked the council “If I bought that house and made improvements I could stop this project.”
ORDINANCES – INTRODUCTION:
#001 Introduced: Ordinance Amending Ordinance No. 046 Of 2015 Authorizing Mayor, Lee Posey, To Enter Into An Intergovernmental Agreement With The Parish Of Natchitoches, The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Department, And The Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office In Connection With The Funding Of A Response Vehicle For The Use Of The Coroner.
MOTION TO ADD ORDINANCE NO. 002 of 2016
#002 Introduced: Ordinance approving the purchase of several tracts of ground adjacent to the Union Pacific Railroad tight of way said tract situated in that area bounded on the West by Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, on the North by Lafayette Street, on the East by Sixth Street and on the South by Trudeau Street from NorthWest Louisiana Athletic League, For the consideration two hundred Forty Thousand Dollars, and authorizing the mayor of the City of Natchitoches, Lee Posey, To execute A cash Sale Deed for the purchase of the tracts and all related documents, to provide for advertising and a savings clause.
MOTION TO ADD ORDINANCE NO. 003 of 2016
#003 Introduced: Ordinance approving the form and content of a cooperative endeavor agreement wit the Jackson Square Cemetery, Inc., a non-profit corporation to provide for the transfer of an area of the South end of the Jackson Square Cemetery Property that is currently used as a part of the cometary to the Jackson Square Cemetery, Inc., and to provide for the future use and maintenance of the area transferred and further authorizing for the mayor to execute.
- REPORTS: Pat Jones – Financial Report
The City of Natchitoches offices will be closed Monday, January 18, 2016 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The next scheduled City Council meeting will be January 25, 2016.