Jury to seek estimates on drainage work

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 22, 1999

VIDALIA, La. – Police jurors voted Monday to get engineer Bryant Hammett to see how many extra drainage culverts are needed in the Criton Canal area in south Concordia Parish and how much they would cost.

Fifteen people who own property in that area and attended the jury’s regular meeting said that, because the canal is overgrown and culverts in connecting ditches cannot handle the runoff, the area can flood for several days from only a two-inch rain.

Pumps farther downstream are designed to pump the water from canal – but the water doesn’t even get that far, said Juror Rodney Smith, whose District 5 includes the canal area.

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The canal, which is nearly 15 feet deep in some places, drains about 40,000 acres of farm and timber land but has not been cleared out in 30 years, said area landowner Morris Ray Arthur.

&uot;We also need to look at the big picture – what can be done to correct these problems over the whole parish,&uot; said former state legislator Al Ater. &uot;We need a timeframe and objectives of what will be done.&uot;

Ater suggested that the jury seek low-cost help from state universities in formulating solutions for the parish’s drainage problem.

The jury formed a drainage committee two years ago, and that committee is on the verge of getting the federal government to fund a $1 million study of the parish’s drainage problems and solutions, said Juror Charlie Blaney.

A drag line to clear out such canals is next on the jury’s list of public works equipment to buy, Blaney added. Meanwhile, Smith said he would arrange to get chemicals to burn off some brush clogging the canal.

Later in the meeting, the jury appointed five members to the Concordia Parish Airport Authority Board: Carl Sayers for five years, Mike McCrory for four years, Jerry Stallings for three years, Oscar O. Stewart for two years and John E. Blunschi III for one year.

The board has not met for quite a while, and its members’ terms were allowed to expire. Progress is being made at the small airport – a new beacon and fence have been bought with state money – and an active board is needed to oversee such work, Blaney said.

Juror Gene Allen said he doesn’t see progress currently being made at the facility, despite airport officials asking the jury for money for projects.

&uot;They keep asking us for money but they don’t do anything with what they’ve got,&uot; he said. &uot;If they’ve got a board that will do work, fine, but what they spend now … they don’t have anything to show for it.&uot;

The jury set 15 miles per hour as the speed limit on Lincoln and Eisenhower roads near Ferriday. It also asked for a written opinion from the District Attorney’s Office regarding electrical service to the Oak Harbor R.V. Park.