Liddy turnpike, fairground upgrade discussed at September police jury meeting

By Daniel Jones, editor

The Liddy turnpike was the main item discussed by the Sabine Parish Police Jury, as they met in regular session on September 5.

Although on the agenda, Gretchen Ferguson with the Louisiana Dept. of Transportation and Development (DOTD) could not make the meeting due to the threat of tropical storms in the gulf.  However, the jury discussed the ongoing situation with the railroad crossing.

According to Police Jury President Ronny Bison, there had been a scheduled meeting due to DOTD wanting to shut the turnpike down, and wanted some roads made private in order for them to do so.  Bison continued that DOTD wants to shut as many crossings as possible down due to accidents and not having proper funding for proper safety precautions at every crossing.

Bison continued that it will be $250,000 for the crossbars, and the police jury simply doesn’t have that sort of cash on hand, but could possibly get federal money for it in the future.

“We’ve got to keep the crossing open because Fisher cannot handle the traffic of the big trucks on its own,” Bison said. 

The police jury also spoke with Sabine Parish Fair and Rodeo President Darryl Simmons, who asked for their assistance in removing an unused structure from the fair grounds.

For years a large, two-story structure on the grounds has been unused, as the bathrooms they contain are non-functional and the second floor, which was previously used as a meeting room, was no longer needed.  He noted there had been several break-ins to the structure, as well.

Simmons continued that he spoke with Bobby Hughes, who works for the town of Many, and was told that their equipment might not be powerful enough for the demolition.

Bison related that one time the building was going to be razed by the fire department as a training exercise, and it might be wise to pursue that course of action again.

The fair president went on that if the building was torn down, the town of Many has offered to dispose of the refuse.  Also, an order has already been made with Cleco to remove electricity to a power line that runs by the building.

A motion was passed to help remove the building, with the jury president saying he’d love to have it removed by the time of the fair, which was mere weeks away.

Simmons also brought up that one of the exhibit buildings was being washed out.

District Eight Juror Kenneth Ebarb stated that he helped with a few things at that building within the previous year and there is definite concern.  The fair ground being in a flood zone, which has been a concern for years, exacerbates the problem.

No opposition was encountered when they voted on a motion to improve the building.

Before adjourning the meeting, a motion was passed to support an application for a Local Government Assistance Program grant to repair and replace the roof on the Office of Emergency Preparedness building.  As the building houses sensitive and specialized items and equipment, a new roof makes sense.

Another resolution requested a grant application be made to install siding on the Police Jury Annex Building, which sits across the street from the front of the courthouse.

Another grant request will ask for money to replace lighting fixtures in the courthouse and install a new entryway.

The jury also declared a Gradall mower as surplus property to be sold and awarded a bid for a self-contained, purpose-built boom mower.


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