Leaders, citizens have positive outlook for future of Ferriday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 22, 2006

FERRIDAY &8212; Ferriday leaders and citizens say the town has nowhere to go but up.

Mayor Gene Allen said he sees the town in the future as being a prosperous one.

&8220;We are marketing Ferriday, especially the downtown area, every day,&8221; Allen said. &8220;We have been talking to industries and they have expressed interest in coming to Ferriday.&8221;

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Concordia Parish Economic Development Director Teresa Dennis said it is only a matter of time before Ferriday sees some changes downtown.

Dennis said Ferriday has begun to use $124,000 from a Federal Discretionary Grant for a streetscape plan to create green space along Louisiana Avenue.

&8220;Development of the downtown area of Ferriday, I think, is a unique situation compared to the rest of the parish because of its downtown historic sites,&8221; Dennis said.

Ferriday is the only town in Concordia Parish that has many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, Dennis said.

&8220;And it&8217;s thanks to groups like the Garden Club or the Downtown Revitalization Committee that many of these places are going to be restored.&8221;

Dennis said the town is beginning a master plan for the restoration of downtown that is funded by the Louisiana Division of the Arts.

The town hired an architect and landscape architect to sketch posters depicting areas of downtown that would be developed in the future such as a new community center and business incubator to be built next to the Pasternack lot on First Street.

A business incubator, Dennis said, is a public place where private business owners who do not have a building of their own can start out by leasing space from the town for their business for a nominal fee.

Dennis said the incubator would cost the town of Ferriday $1.069 million.

Of that amount, Dennis said $284,000 has been secured through HUD grants, $400,000 has been secured through USDA funds and the rest is secured through capital outlay funds.

Dennis said the projected date for the completion of the community center would be the summer of 2007.

Dennis said other buildings were being restored downtown, as well.

The Louisiana Secretary of State&8217;s office granted funds to the town to rebuild the old Arcade Theatre and convert it to a performing arts theatre complete with a recording studio where private citizens could pay to record music, Dennis said.

The town is also looking to build a new fire station.

Allen said Ferriday&8217;s restoration would take people from within the community coming together.

&8220;The only way we can survive is for everyone to be on board, and I think people are beginning to get on board to rebuild the town,&8221; Allen said.