Ferriday receives approval

Published 12:37 am Thursday, May 8, 2008

FERRiDAY — After years of work, Ferriday has received approval to become a certified local government.

Ferriday Historical District member Carol Tomko made the announcement at the Wednesday meeting of the Ferriday Downtown Revitalization Committee.

Reading from a letter from the office of the lieutenant governor, Tomko said pending official notification by the National Park Service, the town has been approved for participation in the certified local government program.

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Along with certified local government status comes a $124,000 grant that the city will likely turn over to the revitalization group as soon as approval is given, Mayor Gene Allen said.

“We are going to try to ensure the downtown revitalization program continues to progress, Allen said.

The funds will be used to do face-lifting and facades on the downtown buildings, and will be administered by a third-party, a bank, Allen said.

Once a municipality becomes a certified local government, it has the opportunity to apply for grants through the Main Street Community program if an opening becomes available in the Main Street program.

“Before (the city was a certified local government), somebody could drop out of the Main Street program and we couldn’t move in because we didn’t have the certified government designation,” mayor-elect Glen McGlothin said.

The town initially tried to become a certified local government in 2004, but that effort did not result in anything, McGlothin said.

“This time I’m hoping we are going to follow through with it,” he said. “We are sitting right there where we need to be.”

As part of becoming a certified local government, the town had to declare and maintain a historic district and put ordinances in place for the district’s preservation.

The Ferriday historic district stretches from First Street to E.E. Wallace Boulevard, and from Florida Street to Mickey Gilley Alley.

Right now, the historic guidelines the city has in place are pretty loose, Tomko said.

“We’re just saying, ‘don’t paint your building purple and gold,’” she said. “There are buildings downtown where someone replaced the windows with plastic windows, and they’ve warped, so we would like to see those replaced.”

Other historic improvement goals would include replacing the 1960s-era overhangs on many of the downtown businesses with more historically appropriate awnings, Tomko said.

“Our goal is to get the town up and running, and in 10 years if you want to get strict with the guidelines, fine,” Tomko said.

With the certification in place, the historic district’s meetings are open to the public, Tomko said.

The historic district’s meetings are at noon on the third Wednesday of every month at the Concordia Bank meeting room in Ferriday.