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Parish considers creation of historic preservation board


VIDALIA —The creation of a nonprofit historical preservation board could segue into federal funding for the restoration of the Historic Concordia Parish Courthouse at 405 Carter St., Concordia Parish leaders said.

During a regularly scheduled meeting of the Concordia Parish Police Jury on Monday evening, District 4B juror, Jimmy Wilkinson said the newly developed board would be eligible to apply for up to $750,000 from the Historic Revitalization Subgrant Program, a federal program created last fiscal year to rehabilitate historic structures and spur economic development in rural communities.

The “old courthouse” was built 80 years ago and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004, Wilkinson said.

In recent years, however, old piping and leaks in the roof caused the building’s upper floors to become uninhabitable, officials said, adding that many updates and infrastructural repairs are needed to bring the building up to date with safety codes.

“We’ve got a lot to do with the old courthouse,” Wilkinson said. “Here in the near future, we’re probably going to put together a board for the historic buildings in the parish.”

Wilkinson said one likely member of the board would be Amanda Taylor, the director of the Concordia Parish Library — which is housed in the courthouse’s first floor.

“(Taylor) said she’d be happy to serve on that board to help move this forward,” Wilkinson said.

No actions were taken in regards to the courthouse.

In other matters during the Concordia Parish Police Jury meeting Monday evening, the board:

  • Unanimously approved minutes for the regular meeting held Feb. 25.
  • Unanimously adopted policies and practices to be compliant with the legislative auditor’s requirements.
  • Unanimously adopted revisions to the parish’s employee handbook to be compliant with the legislative auditor’s requirements.
  • Unanimously approved a questionnaire as part of the 2018 legislative auditor’s requirement for the completion of audits.
  • Unanimously approved the ratification of purchase orders, bank statements and financials.
  • Approved a request from the Concordia Parish School Board to construct a gravel turnaround point for school buses on Sage Road. The measure passed on a vote of 8-0, with District 3-B juror, Whest Shirley abstaining, because he is the superintendent of the school board. Shirley said the cost of materials would be reimbursed by the school district.
  • Unanimously granted approval for jury president, Jimmy Wilkinson to sign off on a $77,800 grant from the Louisiana Government Assist Program, which would be disbursed among the various municipalities in the parish for road equipment and infrastructure repairs.
  • Unanimously approved occupational licenses for Reid’s Lawn Services at 116 North Grove, Vidalia; 88’s Auto Repair at 133 McMillian Road, Ferriday, and Jolla Home Improvement at 136 Skipper Drive, Ferriday.
  • Unanimously approved a request for assistance with road repairs in Clayton that would be funded by the Clayton Board of Aldermen.