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|OPPJ considers land deal for new library in west Ouachita|
Ouachita Parish police jurors on Monday agreed to purchase land for the proposed construction of a new library in western Ouachita Parish.
Action was taken during the police jury's regular meeting.
The site, already approved by the Ouachita Parish Board of Library Control, is located south of Jonesboro Road (La. 34) near the intersection of La. 557.
In December, the police jury agreed to allocate $4.8 million for the construction of two new libraries in 2008. The other library will be located in Richwood off U.S. 165. Land for that library has already been purchased.
While some members of the library board of control wanted to space out these construction projects over several years, several police jurors wanted the projects to begin immediately.
Police juror Mack Calhoun has said his constituents often travel to Ruston to use its library because District B, which Calhoun represents, does not have a top-notch library facility.
Local realtor Bill Roark, who helped the library board and the parish look into available land, said the library board believes the proposed site will pick up a majority of traffic in that area of the parish who will utilize a library facility.
"They felt if they moved it further out, people would not use it due to having to travel a distance to get to it," Roark said.
Calhoun said the library would pick up traffic off La. 34, La. 557, and Rogers Road.
"What I really like about that area is the speed of the vehicles will be fairly low because all of them off 557 have to stop coming into 34," Calhoun said.
"I agree with the board," Calhoun said. "I think they chose the right spot, but first we have to make sure this is the right place to build a library."
The police jury will have 60 days to make sure the land is suitable to house a library facility. During that time, the parish can look into the soil composition, drainage and other factors, which will determine if the police jury decides to buy the land.
The four acres in western Ouachita Parish will cost the police jury approximately $75,000.
The jury voted 5-0 to purchase the land. District A juror Charles Jackson abstained from voting.
Jackson is a former member of the parish library board of control. As a member of that governing body, Jackson opposed the police jury building two new libraries in 2008. Instead, he advocated the construction of the new libraries over in succeeding years.