Mayor Lee Posey and Dallas Russell with the City of Natchitoches spoke to the Lions Club May 15.
Posey gave the following updates on projects:
The Riverbank renovation is on schedule. The riverbank is only losing 20 parking spots, despite rumors with higher numbers, but Posey said he doesn’t feel like the City is ready for a parking garage yet.
The City is working with NSU on the planned construction of a Sports Recreation Center, which will provide room for baseball, softball and soccer tournaments. There is also a walking trail in the works. They hope to go out for bidding this fall with an estimated completion date in the Spring of 2019.
Renovation work on parks in the community. Bathrooms will be added at City and Pierson-Mallet Parks.
Infrastructure upgrades (water, sewer, drainage) including the $ million Master Lift Station project. There should be $1-2 million in street work during the next fiscal year.
Cleaning sludge out of Chaplain’s Lake, which the barge system is removing slowly.
Being aggressive on tearing down blighted houses to improve the overall community quality.
New downtown bridge: An engineering firm was hired to conduct the environmental phase of the project, which should take 1-2 years. This includes traffic counts from every direction, which is currently underway. The debate over where to build a detour bridge is ongoing. If it’s built alongside the new bridge construction it would increase traffic congestion in the downtown area and a 1-1.5 year project could easily become a 2-3 year project.
South Drive Expansion Project: In the original plans, the next phase of the three-lane expansion of South Drive would have included the section between Hancock and Parkway. Considering the danger the narrow, 75-year-old bridge at the intersection by the Fish Hatchery the project was changed to extend from Hancock to the intersection. This would include a new bridge and possibly a traffic circle where the traffic light is currently. The bad part about the new scope of this project, in addition to increasing the price, is the increase in the time it will take to complete. The plan is to overlay South Drive from Hancock to Parkway in the meantime.
The proposed construction of the Cane River Brewery on Mill Street ran into some problems getting approval for tax credits from the state a month ago, but plans are to still go through with the new business.
Two tennis courts were added at the recreation parks area behind East Natchitoches Middle School through a grant with USTA. The City is excited to host its first tennis tournament this Saturday.
When asked about possibly adding an indoor pool that could be used for retirees and swimming meets, Posey said it’s a high ticket item, but the City is looking into it. However, the natatorium on the NSU Campus is too outdated and will probably be leveled in the future.
Russell spoke to the club about hosting an activity booth at the City Park Grand Reopening Celebration Saturday, June 3 from 10 am – 1 pm. Activity Booths are still needed for this event. Your organization must be a non-profit, church, government agency or educational institution. You must provide a hands-on activity. You must stay for the entire event. You must offer free activities. You must provide your own tent, tables and chairs. The deadline for booths is Friday, May 19. Ideas for activity booths include: carnival games, arts & crafts, field games, board games, trivia, etc…
For more information email Dallas Russell at DRussell@natchitochesla.gov or Corey Poole at NPJNatLa@gmail.com.