Allen says hes behind on plans

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

FERRIDAY &8212; Ferriday Mayor Gene Allen&8217;s halfway point in his term has him feeling a bit off his mark.

&8220;In the time frame I&8217;ve been in office, I&8217;m a little behind. (Hurricanes) Katrina and Rita have put everybody behind,&8221; Allen said. &8220;We opened our homes and pocketbooks up to those displaced trying to be as helpful as possible and I&8217;ve enjoyed it, but it has set us back.&8221;

Allen who stepped into a mayor position with the town&8217;s budget &8220;in the hole,&8221; has strived to improve the financial situation and forwarded progress on Delta Music Museum and a community center, he said. The town &8220;will be accepting bids in the next several days&8221; on a Ferriday Community Center.

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&8220;I am satisfied with accomplishments we&8217;ve made at this point, but we&8217;ve got a ways to go,&8221; Allen said. &8220;We just have a lot more stuff to do than I thought and I didn&8217;t know that this town was in as bad a shape as it was.&8221;

Financially, Ferriday now has an infrastructure, he said, now some form must follow. People and continuing support of the town, the economy and growth are the key factors to the town&8217;s success, Allen said.

&8220;Originally this was a town where everyone received paychecks and we want to get back to that,&8221; he said. &8220;In the next half of my term I intend to materialize all the projects we&8217;ve put into place and attract industry and make this city function. It just takes a little time to put it all together.&8221;

At the time the mayor&8217;s council took office, he said, all were &8220;a little green,&8221; but have continued to improve the towns operations. Allen said he welcomes comments from anyone who wants to participate and will always listen to them, but one thing is essential.

&8220;We got to have economic development in this town,&8221; Allen said. &8220;If you have community development, economic development will follow and that&8217;s where we are.&8221;

A town with a strengthening police force and talks of revitalization leaves a mayor who has &8220;enjoyed working with everybody&8221; calling people to pull together.

&8220;It&8217;s hard for people in a rural community to accept discipline and I&8217;m asking for people to continue to help and contribute to this town&8217;s growth,&8221; Allen said. &8220;I&8217;ve enjoyed working with the people and I would do it again because I like the people.&8221;

When Allen stepped in as mayor two years ago on July 1, opening the lines of communication, improving recreation and seeking grants for infrastructure were among some of his goals. Cleaning up Ferriday, community and business interaction and growth while participating in the political process were things for which he also called.

Strengthening industry, bringing a convention center and golf course while marketing the two lakes bordering the town were also in his vision.