Industrial Parkway gets new tenant

Published 6:19 am Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Bogalusa City Council met for two hours Tuesday evening to handle routine business.

The council introduced an ordinance that approved a rezoning request from A-2 to A-3 residential in order to build homes or duplexes.

The council will consider adopting the ordinance at their next meeting. Councilwoman Gloria Kates pointed out that the development project may proceed even without the rezoning.

After that, the council authorized the mayor to enter into a contract with Air Pro Heating and Cooling to construct a walkway from Cassidy Park to Goodyear Park. The project has been planned for some time and is funded. Landon Tims, the city parks and recreation director, was not at the meeting but said afterward that the whole project will cost $140,000 and the city will pay $40,000 of that.

Councilman Brian McCree asked why the city couldn’t use the money to pay for street repairs, and Hall said the city had been waiting on the grant approval for one-and-a-half years and had already budgeted the money.

“This isn’t just something that came up, I promise you,” council member Doug Ritchie said.

Council members Kates, McCree and Tamira Smith voted against the project, but the ordinance passed 4-3.

The council then got some good news from Ryan Seal, executive director of the Washington Economic Development Foundation. Seal also manages the city’s industrial park, and he told the council that the Interior Wood and Design Company, a cabinet manufacturing company, would lease space at the industrial park for three years. The company is local, and Seal said the owner is expanding after a recent spike in business.

Seal also said the building the business will occupy was the former home of another cabinet manufacturer, and so it is well suited for cabinet manufacturing though not much else.

“It’s been a hard building to get leased because it’s not a very well functioning building for anything but a cabinet shop,” he said.

Seal said the business is currently located behind Walgreens, and the owner is planning to use that location for another business. He also pointed out that the new location will allow more employees to be hired.

Marvin Austin, who was in the audience, suggested that the council require a business looking to lease space to hire a certain amount of people based on the size of the facility.

“We need some guarantees,” he said.

After that, citizen Warren Bolds said the city needs a bowling alley.

Ritchie pointed out the former bowling alley went out of business in Bogalusa, and those types of businesses required outside investors.

Bolds also said he was worried that the cabinet shop owner would move to Mexico and take jobs away from Bogalusa.

Seal pointed out that the man is a local resident with kids in the local school system.

“I don’t figure he’ll go to Mexico,” Seal said.

He then addressed Bolds’ other point.

“The reason we don’t have a bowling alley is because the people in the bowling alley business don’t think they can make any money here,” Seal said.

McCree said that they could.

Nevertheless, the council passed the ordinance that allowed the mayor to sign a lease agreement with the cabinet business.


Drug awareness event scheduled

After that, Tracy Galloway spoke about drug prevention. Galloway told the council she is a recovering addict, and she said she wanted to do something for the community to help anyone who might want to get clean from drugs or alcohol.

“Recently I was speaking to other people in the community about how many overdoses there are in the community every day… I know it’s hard. I know it can barely be stopped and I get it,” she said.

Galloway said that dealing with addiction issues out in the open is a good place to start solving the issue. She plans to host a community awareness event in Goodyear Park on Nov. 19 at 5 p.m.

“I’m going to have speakers coming in and a representative from Operation Angel will be there,” she said.

She said she’s gotten positive feedback from her idea so far, and she’s looking forward to a good turnout.

“I’m just letting people know it’s not such a taboo subject to talk about and letting people know we have resources. You just gotta know where to go,” she said.

Galloway said a secondary location in case of a weather event, is the YMCA next door to the park.

Also with Galloway was Tommy Seal. Seal also told the crowd he was a recovering addict and he offered his phone number, 504-388-9431, if anyone would like help getting off drugs.


City gets estimates for North Roosevelt

That was the last item on the agenda. Following Galloway’s remarks, Hall spoke during administrative remarks. Mayor Wendy Perrette was absent. Hall informed the council he’d found three bids for asphalt work on North Roosevelt — the cheapest was for $35,720.

The bids came at the request of Kates, although Hall has said the city cannot afford to lay asphalt on North Roosevelt. In addition, the street has not properly settled yet, meaning additional work cannot be performed on the street until February. Hall mentioned all of this again later in the meeting, but Kates said she was looking into “resources” in Oregon.

Kates has declined to say publicly what other options might be available or what resources she’s investigating, but she said she expects to know more in several weeks.

“Hopefully we’ll have an option in the next two weeks for blacktopping,” Kates said, at the end of the meeting.

Members of the community also spoke, mostly about North Roosevelt, which has been a significant source of irritation for parishioners of Sweet Beulah Baptist Church as well as residents.

However, Clarence Abrams told the council the streets in Moton Quarters are even worse than Roosevelt.

“If you want to see a dirt road come down Pontchartrain in Moton Quarters,” he said.

Abrams said repair crews have ignored his section of the city.

“Come down and treat us the way you treat the rest of the city. We have people down there that pay taxes like everyone else. And we want the same consideration,” he said.

Finally, at the end of the meeting during council comments, Ritchie said he owes people an apology for some bad decisions, but he didn’t say about what or to whom he would make the apology.

“Yeah, I made some bad choices and I have to take responsibility for that,” Ritchie said, adding, “I’m not here for the blacks and I’m not here for the whites.”

The next city council meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 5:30 p.m. at Bogalusa City Hall.