Louisiana legislators ready to talk session, impact for Concordia Parish

Published 12:11 am Tuesday, June 24, 2014

VIDALIA State legislators will meet with Concordia Parish residents Friday to wrap up the recent legislative session and answer any questions.

The Concordia Chamber of Commerce and Concordia Economic Development will host a legislative breakfast from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday at Vidalia City Hall, featuring Sen. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi; Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia; and Rep. Andy Anders, D-Clayton.

Concordia Economic Development Director Heather Malone said the breakfast would be a great opportunity for residents to interact with their elected officials who represent them in Baton Rouge.

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“We truly are blessed to have that relationship with our legislators to where we can pick up the phone, call their offices or shoot an email and always receive a very positive response,” Malone said. “It’s nice during sessions even when they’re extremely busy to always be accessible to our needs.”

Malone said that positive working relationship, along with hard work from parish representatives, resulted in critical funding for the Vidalia Port during the recent legislative session.

The future slackwater port is located near the second Vidalia industrial park and is expected to be a regional economic asset, Malone said.

The project received $1.9 million in promised funding through the capital outlay bill to help complete the first phase of construction and begin the second phase.

The first phase of the project includes the extension of an access road, the construction of a spur levee, a concrete ramp to the river and a working pad with a truck turnaround area. Portions of the first phase have already been completed.

The second phase could include the digging of the actual slackwater slip and the installation of a dock.

“We had some key pieces of legislation go through this year that was huge for the port,” Malone said.

The legislature also approved a bill that will allow the Vidalia Port Commission to restructure its membership.

Previously, the port commission was limited only to residents of the City of Vidalia.

Under the new structure, two parish residents who live outside the Vidalia city limits will also be included in the membership.

Malone said the legislators would recap the various happenings of the most recent session and answer any question residents may have.

“They’ll likely give a basic overview of the major pieces of legislation that went through and then anything local that is going to impact us here,” Malone said.