Louisiana car plant one step closer for region

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 30, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; The purchase of an industrial &8220;mega-site&8221; three parishes to the north is in the proposed state budget, making the state &8212; and the region &8212; one step closer to possibly landing an automobile assembly plant and thousands of jobs with it, the police jury learned Monday night.

Northeast Louisiana Economic Alliance Director Tana Trichel told the jury the commitment to recruiting big industry to the northern part of the state reflects the new, post-hurricane reality.

&8220;The future stability of the state lies in the northern half,&8221; she said. &8220;If you even say, &8216;Hurricane,&8217; they&8217;re not coming.&8221;

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Although the 1,500-acre site in Richland Parish&8217;s Holly Ridge is almost 100 miles from Vidalia, some of the satellite suppliers that crop up around a major plant would likely locate closer, she said.

Maybe one would even locate to the Ferriday property of Cecil and Liz Brooking, with whom Trichel is working to ready land for designation as a Community Development District, which would allow for the kind of tax breaks that could help attract industry.

The designation is a topic the jury will address in a public hearing in its April 10 meeting.

Another issue coming in the next meeting will be working on the courthouse roof.

With three leaks and counting, the jury will soon get an estimate of how much it will cost to patch it.

&8220;There&8217;s one in (Registrar of Voters) Golda Ensminger&8217;s office, one in the D.A.&8217;s office and one in here we can&8217;t find,&8221; jury President Melvin Ferrington said.

Secretary Russell Wagoner said a repair crew was coming in today to discuss the work. Estimates of repair costs would be ready for the next meeting, he said.

Jury member Randy Temple said they needed to think hard about investing some of the next round of capital outlay grant money into a pitched roof on the suspect areas of the courthouse.

All agreed that would be very expensive, but that &8220;patching the roof every eight or nine years is expensive as well,&8221; Temple said.

Several drainage culverts on the recently submitted list of priority roads need to be repaired or replaced, the jury was informed.

Instead of using the contractor to do the work, the jury decided to save some money and do it itself.

The jury voted to reappoint Lane Dale to the Recreation District No. 2 Board.