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|OPPJ wants state help to tackle three local projects|
The Ouachita Parish Police Jury will ask for state funding for three local projects through a state program that aids local governing bodies.
During its regular meeting Monday, the police jury agreed to ask for funding from the Local Government Assistance Program for the Parker Road extension project, Barr Lane extension, and improvements to the Indian Village Water System.
Barr Lane was constructed several years ago. It currently extends north from U.S. 80 and ends near Laird Street.
Parish engineer Don Harrison said Laird Street is a "major collector that runs east to west through that area. There's a short segment that was never linked up and connected to provide a major thoroughfare in that part of the parish."
Harrison said because the road is not connected there, motorists often cut through Family Church's and Claiborne Christian School's parking lots, which causes a disruption.
Local contractor Richard Richardson, owner of D & J Construction Company, has offered to donate labor and equipment for the project if the parish can secure the materials, Harrison said.
"There's really a consensus of the majority of that neighborhood and a lot of individuals are willing to come together to try and make that happen," Harrison said.
The police jury will ask for $76,000 from Local Government Assistance Program, which would pay for materials to link Barr Lane to Laird Street.
Police juror Dorth Blade said the Parker Road extension project near Sam's Club off Interstate 20 presented a safety issue for parish residents.
He said it is a safety concern because the frontage road that runs in front of Sam's Club dead-ends where Monroe Speedway is located.
There are plans to extend that road to Millhaven Road. Blade wants to extend it to Parker Road, continuing to Wagon Wheel Road and north to develop a circle through that area. The parish is asking for $50,000 for the project.
"If you go on the frontage road at the present time and if an accident happens around there, we wouldn't have an exit," Blade said. "You have just one road that goes in and it's a dead-end. Not only is it a safety factor, but it could help with economic development along that road."
The Indian Village Water System improvements include upgrading the water main along U.S. 80 from a two-inch pipe to a six-inch pipe, which would allow for fire hydrants installed in that area. The parish is asking for $96,800 for this project.
Each year the parish can receive up to $144,000 in state funding through the Local Government Assistance Program. Not all of that money will be allocated to the parish since Richwood, Sterlington and West Monroe most likely will submit projects to the state to be considered for funding. The city of Monroe cannot apply for this program since it's a HUD entitlement city.
The parish had five projects for consideration, but decided to only submit three to the state.
"I would recommend that you apply for a total value of projects in excess of $144,000," Harrison said. "You don't know who's going to apply for these funds within the parish, so we want to make sure we have the whole thing covered. They typically won't fund the whole thing."
The deadline for submitting projects is Sept. 12.