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|Resident pleads with police jury to clean up southern Ouachita|
Trash and debris in southern Ouachita Parish has become a major problem, prompting one local resident to plead with parish leaders to address the issue.
Barbara Sharp, a south Monroe resident, told the Ouachita Parish Police Jury Monday night that the southside "in certain areas is in need of your help."
Some of these areas include neighborhoods on Sandifer Drive, Berg Jones Lane, Ticheli Road and other connecting intersections.
"There are sights in these areas that do not represent human decency," Sharp said. "They do not represent Ouachita Parish and the southside residents as they should."
"We need ditches cleaned, trash removed, fines levied, laws enforced, and whatever else is needed to relive this situation," Sharp said. "We are being bothered with rodents, mosquitoes, and soon we will have bacteria and all those things that create health problems."
Sharp said local residents are grateful for the local beautification boards that work to clean up the area. However, she said their efforts "only scratch the surface."
"We need help," she said. "Buildings are boarded up and deteriorated, bushes have grown, ditches are clogged, and when this happens, human behavior gets out of control. I'm afraid to travel at night. We read every week about somebody being shot. If everything was in order, this would not be happening."
She asked the police jury to do whatever is necessary to address the issue so "Ouachita Parish will get back on the map as a place I would like to be."
Sharp has been a resident of southside Monroe for more than 40 years. She owns property and a business there.
"I am begging and pleading for help," she said.
Police juror Pat Moore said the police jury was aware of the issue. She asked that residents be patient as the parish works to correct the problems.
"I understand," Moore said. "We see the same problems, and we will continue to make every effort."
She suggested a small committee be formed to identify the areas of concern in south Ouachita Parish.
"We are taking some measures," Moore explained. "We are looking at video surveillance and putting that in place because we have a lot of illegal dumping."
She said the police jury planned to have cameras installed in several areas throughout the parish that are considered hot spots for illegal dumping.
Local constables will monitor the cameras and anyone filmed dumping items illegally would be investigated by the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office.
The Ouachita Parish Public Works department has provided the police jury with several areas that experience problems with illegal dumping. Cameras will be installed in those areas, Moore said.
"We also are working real close with code enforcement because we know we've got to enforce some of these laws," Moore said. "Please, just be patient with us just a little while longer and you will be able to see the differences."
Regarding the crime issue in south Ouachita, Moore said the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office was committed to address those problems as well.