Officials head to D.C.

Published 1:17 am Monday, March 22, 2010

VIDALIA — After a more than month-long delay, local officials will make their way to Washington D.C., today to meet with Congressional leaders.

The U.S. 84 El-Camino Corridor 5-State Commission will have its annual conference in the nation’s capital this week to lobby for national leaders to provide the funding to achieve the group’s goal of a four-laned U.S. 84 from Georgia through Texas.

The conference was originally scheduled for early February, but was canceled when a major snowstorm covered much of the east coast and Congressional offices were closed.

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Delegations from Adams County and Concordia Parish will be in the capital through Thursday to attend the conference.

While there, local leaders will also take the opportunity to meet with their representatives in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to discuss local issues.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said he, City Manager Ken Walker, Alderman Triand “Tron” McCoy, Alderwoman Maureen “Mo” Saunders, Riverfront Administrator H.L. Irvin and Marketing-Public Relations Officer Sheri Rabb would be going on the trip.

“These meetings are very important in my opinion,” Copeland said. “We have made them once or twice a year, and this is the first time I have had an opportunity to take two aldermen with me. There is the old saying that the squeaky wheel gets greased, and when we have a presence eyeball to eyeball to discuss our issues, that has a very important effect.”

People representing the Concordia Parish Economic and Industrial Development District, the Town of Ferriday and the Village of Clayton will also attend, Copeland said.

“We are going to discuss the port project, the new municipal complex, Ferriday water, some drainage issues we have in Concordia Parish, housing and possibly some recreation issues,” he said.

Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton said he and City Engineer David Gardner would be attending the conference, and they would be joined by Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis.

“She went last week to the National League of Cities meeting, and she has family in (the area) so she just stayed and visited with family and will join up with us Monday,” Middleton said.

The Natchez group will discuss the proposed recreation complex and the Marblestone Road project with their congressional leaders.

They also have meetings scheduled with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Middleton said.

“The biggest things we are going to be looking at is that we are still trying to come up with the $1.2 million in match money we need to finish the North Natchez drainage project,” he said.

Everyone should be back in Thursday evening, Middleton said.

“We will be back in the office Friday morning,” he said.