Ritchie hopes for airing of problems, solutions Tuesday

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 20, 2016

Bogalusa City Councilman Doug Ritchie said he is looking forward to his town hall meeting Tuesday.

Ritchie said he organized the event after years of hearing requests for a town hall event.

“Mr. Fate Ferrell has been asking for a town hall for as long as I’ve been on the council,” Ritchie said. “That’s two-and-a-half years. I kept waiting for someone else to do it and eventually I just said I’ll do it myself.”

Ritchie said he decided to do it himself because he said he’s a lifelong resident of Bogalusa and would like to make his city a better place, because he’s not prepared to move.

“The next place I will go is Ponemah Cemetery when I’m dead and gone,” he said.

The point of the meeting is to generate a list of top public problems and then some ideas on how to fix those problems.

“I am looking for ideas. I am looking for what I would consider to be … the five top needs of the city,” he said.

Ritchie said he imagines common complaints like blight, street repairs and abandoned property will top the list. At a recent city council meeting, the public also suggested the city needs more baseball fields for Little League games and there was some concern over water quality.

Whatever the issues, Ritchie said he hopes people will come with some proposed solutions that don’t include major city expenditures.

“I am looking for ways to think outside the box to begin addressing this sort of thing, because we’re out of money,” he said. “The citizens need to find a way to take our city back because we can’t rely on the city for everything.”

The meeting is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. and wrap up by 7:30. Ritchie will be moderating the event, and he said he expects to have a big turnout.

“I think we’re going to have a packed house,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to have enough room for everyone.”

While Ritchie said he hopes Tuesday’s meeting will be an open discussion, touching on a broad array of concerns. He hopes to follow that meeting up with smaller, more focused workshops.

“Once we narrow down the five areas, I expect we’ll have some future meetings about each topic,” he said.

The meeting will be held at Bogalusa City Hall, in the council chambers.