Apathy may cost town its future

Published 1:43 pm Friday, May 4, 2007

Hope for the future of business in Ferriday may be slipping through the town’s collective fingers.

Six years ago a great plan emerged to create a community center and business incubator in one. The building would become home to enterprising business owners unable to buy or rent their own building without a little profit first.

Six years later the lot is empty, and the federal money given to the town may soon be packed away and sent elsewhere.

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Work on the project was to be largely funded through grant dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But these grants have deadlines and Ferriday isn’t currently on track to meet them.

In recent weeks pointed fingers have been flying in town. Mayor Gene Allen says the architect is to blame for the delays. The architect, of Pineville, says he wasn’t paid properly and in turn wasn’t able to pay the contractor.

The money trail shouldn’t be that difficult to follow and it’s time the town takes serious action.

According to Allen, more than $88,000 has already been poured into the project.

That amount of money and impending grant deadlines should create a sense of urgency for Ferriday’s leaders. Tuesday the mayor and council seemed to feel the urgency when they called an emergency meeting for that night.

But by the scheduled 6 p.m. start time the emergency must have passed. Not enough councilmen attended for a quorum, and everyone went home without results.

The apathy of town leaders may soon cost Ferriday its future.

And if that happens the fingers can only point in one direction.