By Natalie Covher
SEE NOTES AT END FROM RESIDENTS
There were only a few seats left open at the City Council meeting Monday evening, Aug. 22. The room seemed divided as residents showed their support or opposition for the Council’s final vote on Ordinance No. 35.
The ordinance, which passed unanimously, authorizes the City to lease a 1.863 acre tract in the ADM facility on Mill Street to the owners of Cane River Brewery.
Opposition came from South Williams residents who are still concerned about potential noise pollution from the brewery. Mayor Lee Posey said, “At the end of the day it’s only going to be 65 decibels and this is not unpleasant to the ears.”
However the residents beg to differ.
After they requested a meeting with an acoustician, Posey agreed to set it up at a July 25 Council meeting. Residents expected to be included in the on-site meeting with the acoustician, however, Posey set up a post-meeting with them at City Hall. Posey apologized for the miscommunication, however the residents feel they were intentionally left out.
“If this was your backyard, you know you’d be standing up here,” said Marion Salter.
Posey disagreed. “I’d be over there with a drink in my hand, hoping to hear music.” His statement was met with applause from the supporting side in the room.
Councilman Dale Nielsen said he feels the focus of this project is being taken away from the business itself and diverted to the “entertainment” factor.
“When this project got started we were excited,” said Posey. “But somewhere people started calling it an ‘entertainment district’ and we never called it that here at City Council. But the Natchitoches Times did on the front page of the paper.”
One of the brewery owners, Justin Krouse, said he’s looking forward to working with South Williams residents and anyone else who has concerns about his business.
“We’re not trying to be the bad guys here,” he said.
The Council recognized Elizabeth Wysingle for her outstanding volunteer work with the Natchitoches Council on Aging and the Food Bank of Central Louisiana.
Other agenda items included:
• Award bid for Lafayette Street Rehabilitation Project to Progressive Construction of Alexandria for $329,881
• Award bid for 2016 City Street Rehabilitation Project to Progressive Construction for $842,207
• Ordinance granting Atmos Energy and its successors rights to acquire, maintain, construct, lay, repair, remove, replace, install, operate, and dispose of a gas system for the sale, transportation and distribution of natural gas within and beyond the municipal boundaries of the city and to the residents and businesses located therein for light, heat, power and any other purposes and the right to use the present and future streets, roads, highways, alleys, bridges, public ways and immovable property for such purposes.
• Award bid for the purchase of a bucket truck for the City Utility Department to Altec Industries of Daleville, Va. For $187,582
• Approve purchase of tract of ground situated between Rapides Drive and Fairgrounds Road for $346,000. Posey said the land is needed for the future expansion of the water treatment plant, the airport and the construction of a road out of Town South and Pan Am neighborhoods.
• Advertise for bids for Liquid Chlorine for the water treatment plant
• Advertise for bids for the water system improvements-phase I and II
• Resolution in support of elevating the El Camino East-West Cooridor/Highway 6/84 to a higher priority to make available the 20 percent funds for “ready projects”
The next City Council meeting will be Sept. 12 at 5:30 p.m.