Mayor updates Kiwanis Club on City projects

Kiwanis Mayor
Mayor Lee Posey updated the Natchitoches Kiwanis Club on upcoming City projects at its meeting March 1.

In Kiwanis news, Tori Thompson was inducted as the club’s newest member.

Posey first introduced the new Fire Chief for the City, John Wynn who spoke on the importance of a Public Safety Tax renewal coming up on the March 24 ballot (10 mill: $1.2 million).

Without the renewal Wynn said the City Fire Department would lose positions that it needs to keep funded in order to improve the City’s fire rating from 3 back to 2 where it’s been. If the renewal were too fail, there’s a chance the rating would drop to a 4. The lower the fire rating, the more it would hurt the pocket books of residents.

One project Posey talked about that would help improve the City’s fire rating is the replacement of an 8” water line on St. Denis to a 12” line. The project will cost $750,000 and will include bricking St. Denis.

“We need more water pressure downtown, which would help to improve our fire rating,” said Posey. “We need your vote on this-March 24.”

Sales tax collections, particularly with the good Christmas season, were up for the year and Posey said there’s a lot of positive things happening. He relayed information from Planing and Zoning Director Juanita Fowler, who said there’s been more building permits issued in the last year than she’s seen in past years, which is great for the economy.

Posey said the new riverbank renovation is something the Natchitoches community can be proud of.

“I’ve never seen community that’s got more acronyms than I’ve ever thought about learning, but I take pride in the number of organizations we have working together,” said Posey.

With the new renovations and an expanded rowing dock, the largest rowing crew team in the nation will compete on Cane River this year.

The Cane River Brewery project began construction at the ADM facility on Mill Street. The Cane River National Heritage Area has helped the City look at the potential of what the ADM property could be. They’re talking to a group out of New Orleans, who told them that the area has several key features: Cane River, Chaplin’s Lake, a 4-year university, and a beautiful industrial facility. These are things that national developers will be interested in. Posey said the City plans to move the water plant away from NSU eventually to open the ADM site up more.

Posey said he’s pushing for the start of construction on the Church Street Bridge project. Although he said he doesn’t know where it’ll go yet, he did say that the Highland Park location isn’t going to happen because of the new home construction.

The dredging on Chaplin’s Lake is almost done. This is the fourth time the City has done this sludge removal process, but with the installation of a clarifying system, Posey said they’re doing it in a way so that they’ll never have to do it again.

The rededication of tax money went to the following areas:

Drainage

Streets: Last year there was $3 million worth of street projects. The City just bid out $5 million, which Posey said is the largest streets project Natchitoches has probably ever seen.

Parks and recreation: Fixed up three parks to make things better in the community. The addition of swings was an important feature.

Water/sewer sales tax money went toward cleansing the entire system and the City is in the process of replacing a lot of water lines. The worst lines are in East Natchitoches around St. Maurice, Whitfield, and Sirod. Then work will move back to the West side of town. Posey said they’re also looking at Bayou Jacko, which drains into Sibley Lake.

Tennis tournaments: USTA partnered with the City to build six courts. They will bring the first tournament in October. The City is going out for bids on a pavilion/restroom/concession area to tie it all together.

South Drive project: Work was just bid out to overlay South Drive from Hancock to the four lane out by Lott Oil. Construction should start soon. The next phase is to continue the 3-lane from Hancock to the bridge across Cane River. Future plans include a new bridge project and a traffic circle.