D.O.T. to consider the temporary bridge

letters to the editor295Hello,

My name is Diane Dodd. My family is the owner of the location that is being considered for the location of a “temporary bridge” while the Church Street Bridge is going through renovation: 1128 Williams Ave, Natchitoches, LA 71457.

In January, 2015,  this property was for sell and the Mayor of Natchitoches was considering purchasing the property for $219,000.00 from the then owners; the Sibley family.  The Natchitoches City Council then requested the affected residents to voice their concerns regarding this matter.  In a standing room only meeting, not only did the residents voice their desires not to support the purchase of 1128 Williams Ave by the city, but also voiced their concerns about a “temporary bridge” being put in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The City Council voted against the purchase of 1128 Willams Ave.

December 12, 2016, another item made its way back on the City Council agenda.  This item was the “Highland Park Road – 1128 Williams Ave project.”  However, at this time, I had already purchased the home from the Sibley family the previous month. We were already in the process of demolishing the existing home to begin the construction of the dream home we had planned for in retirement for many years, so you can imagine my surprise when I found out about this new agenda item. Even with only a days notice, I, and many other residents who likewise only had a days notice, attended the meeting with the thought that our last minute notice was the city’s way of getting the item voted on without the residents input.  Natchitoches City Council voted 5-0 AGAINST the Highland Park Road-1128 Williams Ave location.

Based on the above vote, and the council stating that the item was ‘dead in the water’, we continued with our construction plans.  However, June of 2017, I received a phone call from my neighbor stating the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development was still considering the Highland Park Road-1128 Williams Ave location as the site for the temporary bridge.  Once again through word of mouth. Why is it that if this is MY property I do not have the courtesy of hearing first hand what is on the table for it?

I believe a bridge placed at 1128 Williams would not only plummet the value of the beautiful homes along Williams Ave removing the historical feel of the area, but also become a major safety hazard for anyone walking near the street being that there are no sidewalks for the pedestrians to safely travel along. The property is on a major curve which also presents major safety concerns, and developing this bridge would cause many of our neighbors to have their properties affected to insure that the area was not a safety hazard.

Why can’t D.O.T. consider the temporary bridge to be placed next to the “Church Street” bridge just like they did for the “Keyser Bridge”?  I was also made aware of the fact D.O.T. has no plans to place 2 lanes with a turning lane, just like the Keyser Bridge project.  Why go through all this just to place the same amount of lanes on the new bridge?  This will do nothing to alleviate the traffic crossing over the bridge.  My wish, and suggestion is for DOT to do exactly what they did with the Keyser Ave bridge renovation.

Lastly, I spent nearly 30 years on the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and always dreamt of retiring in Natchitoches. I owned a piece of property on the cane river out of town for nearly 25 years with the intent of building and retiring on it. However, when this amazing property became available, I sold it to live out our dream IN TOWN and nearer to the community. My entire family is from Natchitoches and we have deep Creole roots in Natchitoches Parish.  We were living our dream until Mayor Posey met with me after I had already purchased the home and applied for a demolishion permit. When he initially asked for a meeting with me after applying for my demolition permit, I genuinely thought he was welcoming me to the town.  But no, he was turning my dream into a nightmare.  He mentioned the “temporary bridge” and this was the first time I had even heard the news. Not even the Sibley family made me aware of this news prior to them selling me their property.

I want you all to know this:  Even if I hadn’t purchased the property at 1128 Williams Ave, I would stand in solidarity with the residents against any “temporary bridge” being placed at this location.  I would stress for the location to be adjacent to the Church Street bridge likened to how the Keyser Ave Bridge renovation was performed.

Thank you for your time,

Diane Dodd
Owner of 1128 Willams Ave

The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this letter. The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

23 thoughts on “D.O.T. to consider the temporary bridge

  1. I truly cannot believe what my eyes are reading! Our wonderful historic town of Natchitoches, that I have been raised in, DOES NOT welcome people in such a way. Put yourself in her shoes. How would you like to be treated in such a manner? All I see is a lady trying to express her views, and clearly explain the situation, so that all can understand. What does it matter where she came from, or that she can buy a lot and build her dream home? I see some jealousy here. Everyday I read this journal, and often , there are stories about our children being bullied, And now today I see GROWN ADULTS doing the very same thing. I hope that the true heart of the Natchitoches Community will welcome and support this family, and this whole bridge situation will be put to rest, at least in this neighborhood, just as it has in the past.
    If it has been voted down twice, why bring it up again? Who is gaining from it? Also in the future, I think personal information should be withheld from a public post (this one has since been edited) especially with such vile comments being made. And one last thing, THANK YOU Diane Dodd for your service, no matter what state or city you served in!

  2. This is that same Mayor who thought there were no homeless veterans or even homeless in the City. I have no doubt that he would be asking a meeting from you first thing. Natchitoches Parish has remained at a steady 40,000 pop. for the past 100 years, while shrinking from 2% of the state total pop. to 0.8% of the state total pop. The last thing the Mayor should do is to offend any of these people…yet it always seems to be his play.

  3. Wow ! I can’t believe the NEGATIVE comments posted towards a family that just wanted to move to our beautiful city and live out their retirement ! And maybe, JUST MAYBE, the realtor or the seller could have forewarned her of the headache she was headed into !
    As far as the bridge being constructed in her area, it would DO NOTHING to help the traffic situation. Maybe the state can use land they already own as the site for a temporary bridge, and use the money it’s going to take to purchase new land, and patch a few roads ?? Just a thought –

  4. I can totally understand Ms Dodd’s concern. There are places that are not developed that can be used to put a temporary bridge, so why destroy someone’s new home? I’m also sure that there will be no fair market value given for her home. Think about the fact that it could be your home. I have heard for years that the loop around town on the east side would come through a populated area. Lots of nice home. Is that still the plan. If so I think that is wrong. I am beginning to think living in a small town is not as great as I thought it was going to be. Politicians currently in office are not forward thinking individuals. Things in this town are getting worse, like parking, no turn lanes on busy street so traffic backs up, ratty old building needing to be torn down are not, and I could go on and on. We need to get council members and a mayor who think toward the future and what is best for Natchitoches, same of the parish politicians. same for the school board and the school superintendent. Natchitoches is growing, we need to elect people who can handle the growth of the city. I may be wrong, but I think we have a problem. And based on the quality of work we are getting from the individuals who are supposed to be serving us, I think we need to cut their pay. They are not earning it and Natchitoches is not a charitable operation.

  5. THE CITY NEEDS TO BUILD A 3 LANE BRIDGE DOWN TOWN PLUS CLOSE OF ST CLARE AVE TO WILLIAMS THE CHURCH STREET BRIDGE IS NOT EVEN HISTORICAL EVEN THO THE HISTORICAL GROUP THINKS DIFFERENT. THE MAYOR NEEDS TO LEAVE US LONE ON WILLIAMS AN NORTH DOWNTOWN PUT THE BRIDGE OVER THE END OF THE LEVEY OVER THE NORTH END OF WILLIAMS , AN DO THE EAST CORRIDOR THAT IS NEEDED. THERE IS ENOUGH STUFF GOING ON DOWN TOWN, PLUS OUR STREETS AN DRANAGE IS BAD PLUS SOUTH DRIVE SHOULD BE FINISHED AN A NEW BRIDGE BUILT THERE. THE DOWN TOWN BRIDGE WAS CLOSED ONCE AN SHOULD HAVE BEEN REBUILT THEN BUT NOOOOOOOO !!!!!!!! THEY HAD THE TIME THEN TO FIX THE PROBLEM BUT THE HISTERICAL GROUP ARE A THORN IN THE SIDE OF THIS CITY AN SHOULD BUT OUT PLUS THE STATE NEEDS TO MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS AN FIX SOUTH DRIVE AS IT IS A STATE ROAD LIKE ALL THE OTHER STATE ROADS IN OUR PARISH THAT ARE IN NEED OF BAD REPAIR THE PEOPLE WHO SITE AT THE OFFICE OR THE DOT AN SOUTH DRIVE ARE BEING PAID TO DO NOTHING WE SHOULD CLOSE THAT OFFICE DOWN FOR DOING NO WORK.!!!!!

  6. Oh….and if you’re truly concerned and want to encourage economic development in this beautiful town we call home…maybe try not to be so ugly to new people who want to move here and create their own happily ever after here just like you. Those are taxpayers and purchasers in every shop in town.

  7. Hmmmm…wondering what the comments would be if it was YOUR property about to be destroyed? Hmmmm…wondering why it’s ok to destroy our quality of life, and endanger all the kids and family’s safer who walk Williams avenue every day….so that some folks on St. Clair who don’t want to be inconvenienced by a bridge to replace existing one to go where it always should have….right on to St Clair and giving all of east natchitoches an actual 4 way intersection instead of the death trap 3 1/2 way intersection that exists now? Hmmmmm…,it’s clear from the funding documents, signed by the Mayor, that this is not intended to be a temporary bridge. The city will have to buy at least 2 other properties (mine included) to make this project happen. Do your own research folks….this bridge location has been voted down by the city council unanimously…twice!! No one except a few folks who clearly have ulterior motives (translate, stand to gain from it personally and financially) are for this location. No one is saying church street bridge doesn’t need to be repaired. It does. We’re all only saying that it makes most sense to put it on existing city property (either crossing where it comes out at st Clair or at touline st) and won’t negatively affect or destroy ANYONE’S personal homes!! Diane is standing for everyone in our neighborhood who cares about our quality of life, and we stand united for all of our family’s wellbeing!

  8. RSA and willie. Really?! There is no whining in her letter. What the city is doing is beyond ridiculous. She has rightfully and lawfully purchased the property. Her previous career and location have nothing to do what is going on. I’m sick of people in this town name calling and bashing people when your clearly uneducated and chose not learn the facts. I’m appalled that the journal did post personal information instead of just the letter. That is irresponsible. A bridge in that particular location is a hazard and will not help the traffic situations . I personally hope she keeps the land, makes a home, and enjoys her well deserved retirement and thank her for her years as an officer.

  9. One would think someone who spent 25 years as a California police officer, like that really has anyting to do with the matter at hand, would check and see why the property was such a god deal. You made the decision to do whst you did and now claim to be the victim. Wait, can you here the small violins in the background, who gives a crap about the bad choices you have made. Deal with it or live somewhere else. You think you deserve it because you are a retired police officer from California and have the money to do so. Welcome to the real world of getting screwed. You want a house and property, most normal people just want a home!

    • I’ll agree with you on that. I should have done more research. Trust me, I’m upset with myself for not doing so. But when you trust those working for you would disclose such info while the property was going through escrow. I probably have a lawsuit on my hands but I’m not trying to go that route. And I don’t think I deserve anything because I worked in the law enforcement field. I think I deserve just what every person in the USA deserves after a long career. A chance to live out my childhood dream of living in a town my entire family lived in before they migrated to California. Just as many people did in the late 50’s early 60’s for work. Plus, wouldn’t you want to live in the same town as your aging mother when you retired? You really should know the facts before you start talking about violins. Did you even know the letter was addressed to DOT and not to the Journal? Did you know I did not give permission for them to publish this? It was sent as Info Only! but that’s fine. I know that 99% of the residences in this lovely town have kind hearts and are welcoming my family with open arms. God bless you.

  10. Whine whine whine. “I deserve this , I deserve that, to hell with improvements”. You must not be too emotionally tied to your location as you planned on another place for 25 years. Get real lady, and go back to Calif. if you can’t take progress here.

    • I’m wondering why the bitterness in your post. Wouldn’t you be upset if for some reason some governmental agency wanted to level your home to build a temporary something. If you get money, it would not be fair market value. If this were your best buddy’s house, wouldn’t you be standing beside him yelling this is not fair. Are you being rude because she got a good deal on a piece of property and bought it? Or are you being rude because she is from California? Or are you being rude because she was in law enforcement. She never said “to hell with improvements”. She said there are better places to put a temporary bridge that would be safer, not destroy her home and property values of other homes in the area. I am so sorry that you are bitter toward her, but I’m more sorry for her to have to put up with people treating her this way, all because she wants to protect her home. You really owe her an apology, but since I don’t think it’s going to be coming from you, I will say to her, I’m sorry that there are people in this town that are so rude. Believe me, most of us aren’t.

      • Thank you MEHP. I’m not thin skinned. I’m very use to people being rude to me. However, I never thought I’d get it from people in the lovely small town. This is why I moved here to raise my kids and enjoy my retirement. I’m not going to allow anyone to get in the way of our dreams. If anyone of these people on this site want to be mean to me, they might as well be mean to my family members ( Metoyer’s, Rachal’s, Llorence’s, and Balthazar’s, to name a few ). And chances are those people making those comments know someone in my family. God bless.

  11. The City is in desperate need of another bridge. Choosing a location is never easy and there will ALWAYS be people it will affect more than others. Looking at both sides of the river, this location is as feasible as any other might be. Progress comes at a cost we all have to pay

  12. why not construct a north/east by pass around city of Natchitoches—so traffic will not be forced to
    travel through the city.

  13. Solution: Tear down the bridge permanently and let all these rich wanna be’s drive around and sit in traffic.

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