Hydroplant illustrates power of vision, patience

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 25, 2001

The Mississippi River has always been an integral part of our area’s economy. Since the arrival of the steamboats in the 1800s to scenic beauty that helps draw thousands of tourists to the area, everything always seems to come back to the river.

And last week was no exception. The river gave back to the voters of Concordia Parish to the tune of $2.88 million.

The Sidney A. Murray Hydroelectric Plant paid its first ad valorem tax payment last week after being put on the parish’s tax rolls in December 2000. That meant the first tax was due this month.

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The payment was an early Christmas present for the parish and one which should remind us all of the vision required to make the plant become a reality.

The hydroplant went online in 1990, producing electrical power by harnessing the forces of the river. It was the brainchild of former Vidalia Mayor Sidney A. Murray. With Murray’s guidance and the help of many parish leaders, the project got off the ground. It was a seed planted which is finally developing fruit after 10 years.

And for current parish leaders, the fruit couldn’t come at a better time.

&uot;I don’t know how to put in words what this means to the parish,&uot; said Charlie Blaney, president of the Concordia Parish Police Jury. &uot;We’ve been strapped for funds ever since I got on the jury. Now we’ll be able to open ditches and keep grass cut better and we’ll be able to do more repairs around the courthouse.&uot;

Blaney’s excitement is echoed by dozens of other parish leaders.

The effect of the hydroplant is certainly being felt. And the possibilities of what can happen with a little vision and some patience are as limitless as the river itself.