Police Jury supports region-wide bike trail, safety study

Published 3:40 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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VIDALIA, La. — The Concordia Parish Police Jury passed resolutions in support of grant opportunities for a region-wide bicycle trail and street safety study benefiting multiple northeast Louisiana parishes.

Louisiana District 21 Rep. C. Travis Johnson III, D-Ferriday, addressed the police jury on Monday to ask for its support of the two grant opportunities for up to $1 million each.

The first is the Delta Agricultural Research and Sustainability District’s application for a “Safe Streets and Roads for All” grant created by the 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

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Johnson’s Delta Agricultural Research and Sustainability District was created with House Bill 647 to help impoverished areas of northeast Louisiana as a region obtain federal grants that would otherwise go to larger cities, he said.

The Sustainability District aims to help with an array of economic development programs —from agricultural research to infrastructure improvements.

“I created this district because I think that this region should go after these grants from a regional aspect,” Johnson said. “Concordia Parish is one small town and the bigger grants go to New Orleans, Baton Rouge — bigger areas with greater impact.”

Local and state leaders representing Concordia, Tensas, East Carroll and Madison parishes are a part of the commission, he said. The first grant up to $1 million would fund a region-wide transportation safety study that would identify ways to decrease traffic fatalities.

“This would give us a ‘gold star’ with the federal transportation secretary so that every grant application we submit going forward, they would pay attention to it,” Johnson said.

The second resolution supports an application from the Delta Bike Trail Commission created in 2021 to fund a feasibility study for construction of a new bicycle trail, Johnson said.

“My goal is to have bike trail built from the Vidalia Riverfront RV park all the way up to Lake Providence,” he said. “The feasibility study will say where it can and can’t go.”

In addition to providing recreational opportunities, Johnson said the trail would enhance tourism in the area to promote economic growth.

The feasibility study would allow the commission to apply for funds from the Recreational Trails Program for Louisiana, a state administered Federal-aid grant program funded by the National Recreational Trails Fund Act, he said.

The police jury passed both resolutions unanimously on Monday.

In other matters, the police jury approved two measures that would allow E&P Consultants to facilitate the sale of adjudicated properties in the parish and list those properties on a multi-parish website, louisianalandsolutions.com, for public information.

Wesley Johnson of E&P Consulting presented a business proposal to the police jury during its April meeting.

Land auctions would be conducted in-person at the courthouse while the consulting group would facilitate that process and any public notice requirements.

The consultant’s fees are paid by the person interested in the property.

In other business, Police Jury Secretary and Treasurer Ariella Carter informed the board and the public that the next meeting that would traditionally take place on the fourth Monday of the month will instead be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28, at the Concordia Parish Courthouse, 4001 Carter St., Room 2, because of Memorial Day.