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|Board wants Glenwood money to secure grant funding|
The Keep Ouachita Parish Beautiful Board requested that the Ouachita Parish Police Jury let it use some of the money from the sale of Glenwood Regional Medical Center to seek grants for litter and drainage improvement projects in the parish.
James Poe of the Keep Ouachita Parish Beautiful Board made the request Tuesday during the police jury's regular meeting. The meeting was held Tuesday instead of Monday because of President's Day.
The police jury received $4.1 million when the hospital was sold to IASIS Healthcare in January 2007. Police jurors later agreed to place most of that money, approximately $3.8 million, in a special savings account. Annual interest income from the money would be used for drainage and litter projects throughout the parish.
"We have accumulated interest in there and as of this past year, we have about $165,000 for both litter and drainage control," Poe said. "Speaking on behalf of the Keep Ouachita Parish Beautiful Board, I'm here to get your permission to research some ways that we can use this money effectively."
"We want to look for grants and things to get matching funds for education, advertising, code enforcement, litter pickup, anything we can do to get our money's worth out of this and start putting it into effect," Poe said. "Right now we just want to move forward, and start getting ideas to clean up our community."
"I don't have to tell you how it affects our economy. Litter control is very important," he added.
Poe said the board's focus in seeking grant funding would center on litter control, but it also plans to look into ways to use the money for drainage control.
"I think we can tie that into litter control, and get two programs together," Poe said.
Juror Mack Calhoun commended Poe and the Keep Ouachita Parish Beautiful Board.
Though the jury did not take action on Poe's request, Calhoun said he would continue to keep the matter on the table.
"They are an outstanding group of people with some great ideas," Calhoun said.
"They want to become involved with the grants … we want to use this for matching funds for grants," Calhoun continued. "It's for the whole parish. To me, this thing is like an oil well … we've got money in the bank and it will just keep on pumping.
"We won't ever run out of money if we leave it there. If this thing keeps on pumping out the money, we will always have plenty of funds to clean this parish up and improve the drainage and flood control."
Juror Dorth Blade added, "We need to do something parish-wide to improve our self-esteem. Having individuals come by and pick up paper and trash and the next day, there's others throwing it down. We've got to address our citizens to the effect that we need a clean parish."
Calhoun agreed with Blade that the public needs to be educated about the litter issue.
Calhoun has advocated having litter awareness issues taught in schools to inform students about the importance of keeping the parish clean.