Mayor: Improvements start at foundation

Published 11:11 pm Thursday, September 6, 2007

FERRIDAY — Mayor Gene Allen said improving Ferriday means ensuring good community foundations.

Allen was the featured speaker at the Ferriday Rotary Club Thursday.

“The key to improving our community is to ensure we have good jobs, schools, medical facilities, housing, leadership and direction,” he said.

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Ferriday is not an industrial community, and so those who want to bring jobs to the area need to look to other kinds of economic development, Allen said.

“We’ve got to look for ways to move jobs to our city that are not big industry,” he said. “Instead of trying to attract 500 jobs at a time, we need to work to bring in 50 jobs at a time.

Another key is developing the town’s downtown, he said.

“If we develop our downtown, it will bring jobs,” he said.

“We need to focus on technical education. You need to have people trained to do certain jobs like electrical work for an area to grow.”

As for housing, the town is in the process of tearing down dilapidated and dangerous houses, he said.

“We still have a lot of people in this area from (Hurricane) Katrina,” he said. “We don’t have many vacant houses for people to move in.”

The town already has a sense of direction, Allen said.

“I can’t make a decision in the medical field, the pharmaceutical field or the farming field, but those who do need to make the best decision for the direction of the community,” he said.

The town also needs to look at future projects, Allen said.

“We can’t live in the past,” he said. “We’re here today working in the present, but we need to think about the future.”

Some of the ways the town has done that is to repave many of the major roads, have the historic district work toward a downtown facelift and to pay off the town water plant, Allen said.

“Ferriday is strong, as strong as it has been in the last 30 years,” he said. “Let’s move our city forward.”