VIDALIA, Louisiana (AP) – Money generated from royalties from its hydroelectric plant will help revitalize the town of Vidalia.
At a recent meeting of the council of aldermen of Vidalia, the council voted 2-2 to spend $ 250,000 in hydroelectric royalty income on various beautification and landscaping projects presented by the Vidalia Garden Club and the Vidalia Beautification Committee. Mayor Buz Craft broke tie in favor of projects, The Natchez Democrat reported.
Craft said two public hearings were held ahead of the meeting in which citizens and city officials were allowed to say how they think the funds could be used.
“We had two meetings that we announced and no one else showed up,” said Craft. “These ladies came to both meetings. … We told them to prepare a budget (things they would like to do) and we would oversee it.
The projects presented to the board of directors by Ellen Yates of the Vidalia Beautification Committee and Cindy Galloway of the Vidalia Garden Club focus on beautifying three parts of the city: Carter Street, Vidalia Riverfront and the area outside the Palace of historical justice.
Yates said $ 90,000 was budgeted for siding either side of Carter Street with 20 self-watering flower pots, 12 light poles with two flower baskets each, replacing the two “Welcome to Vidalia” signs and construction. a flower bed and an art exhibit around the brick columns at the old toll plaza near the Mississippi River Bridge.
For the Riverside, $ 76,000 has been set aside for Christmas lighting and decorations around the gazebo and a remake of flower beds and banners along the Riverwalk.
Approximately $ 84,000 is budgeted for courthouse upgrades, which includes adding a large American flag and decorating trees with icicles in the courthouse plaza and more light poles following the drive from the old courthouse along Texas Street to a riverside Christmas exhibit. The poles would also be decorated with light wreaths and garlands during the holidays.
Alderman Tommy Probst, who voted against the revenue moves, said other ongoing projects should be completed first.
Specifically, Probst said there were trees hanging over power lines that needed to be cut and said additional lighting was needed on Martin Luther King Boulevard. He also said city officials had previously discussed purchasing new security cameras.
“I would love to see these projects completed before I start,” said Probst.
Alderman Robert Gardner agreed, saying, “There have been other projects before this one and it looks like this one has reached the top. “
Craft said the projects Probst mentioned had never been approved by the board of directors and had not been discussed at any of the two public meetings held to discuss hydroelectric royalties.
“You came to these two meetings. If you had someone in your ear, why didn’t you say anything then? He said to Probst.
Although a timeline for the completion of the projects has not been determined, Craft said work will begin with the Vidalia Riverfront.
“In the next few weeks we will be finalizing a lease with American Cruise Lines and they will start building a dock,” Craft said. “When they get ready to drop people off at the Vidalia Riverfront, we want to impress them, but not just them. It is something our citizens can enjoy every day as they walk along the river. We want them to enjoy the beauty that we have here in our city.
Improvements on Carter Street would need to be approved by the Louisiana Department of Transportation first because it is a public road, he said.