Apartment construction under way on Lincoln Avenue

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – Work has quietly started this week on a 38-unit apartment complex for low-income people on Lincoln Avenue near Ferriday.

Ground was broken Tuesday by crews from contractor T.A. Miller of Shreveport.

&uot;But we’re not going to have a ceremony any time soon&uot; to mark the start of construction, said Buddy Spillers, president of the Macon Ridge Community Development Organization, developer of the project.

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That is because Macon Ridge officials are requesting that top officials of the U.S. Department of Housing and Development be present at such a ceremony, and their schedules are currently full, Spillers said.

&uot;I’ve written Housing Secretary (Mel) Martinez requesting for him to come, and they wrote back saying he would come the next time he comes to Louisiana,&uot; he said.

But work is continuing nonetheless. While T.A. Miller’s crews have five months to complete the project, Spillers estimated that the project could be finished in 90 days with good weather.

Nearby residents have expressed concerns that the development could cause public works, crime and traffic problems. But the Ferriday Town Council on July 11 approved water and sewer service to those apartments. And on July 17, the Concordia Parish Police Jury approved a permit to build the complex. Across town, crews from BAS Construction of Rayville are building another apartment complex for the elderly at Ohio Avenue and Third Street.

That is despite the fact that residents living near the site have expressed concerns that since the former owner of the property raised chickens on the site and blackbirds have roosted there for years, the fungus histoplasma could be present in soil stirred up at the site.

That fungus can cause histoplasmosis, a condition that can lead to lung disorders and blindness, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control.

Meanwhile, Macon Ridge has three more complexes in various stages of development in Concordia, Catahoula and Tensas parishes.