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|Ferriday Council on 2-0 vote changes alley name|
The Ferriday Town Council on 2-0 vote agreed to change the name of Morning Star Alley to Rev. Johnnie Hollins Alley following a public hearing Tuesday night before a standing-room only crowd where many opinions were voiced.
Elijah "Stepper" Banks offered the motion for the change with Gloria Lloyd seconding the motion. Somer Lance abstained, she said, because two aldermen were not there — Jerome Harris and Johnnie Brown.
Harris, who was opposed to name change, is in a hospital in Monroe undergoing medical treatment, while Brown is recovering from surgery. Both were unable to attend the meeting.
Mayor Glen McGlothin read a letter from Gail Pryor which had 120 names on a petition opposed to changing the name. McGlothin also had a letter in support of the move.
The Rev. Michael Hollins said nothing was more important to his father than serving the people of Ferriday. "The youth of this city were near and dear to his heart."
Emmaline Groom said she was born on Morning Star Alley and that her 93-year old mother still lives there.
"She is pulling her hair out over this situation," Groom said. "She will have to change to a new address and I just don't see the significance. I can't see you not having compassion for her."
Shirley Brown said her 99-year-old mother who lives on the street opposed the change, as well. "For us there is no reason for the change."
Attorney Anna Ferguson asked for a compromise, such as naming another street or a park after Hollins.
Rev. Johnny (Sam) Hollins Jr., said everyone resents change.
"I know our father would not want all this fuss and arguing about this," he said. "Daddy wouldn't even want us discussing this. You can't name a street after everybody. This is about honoring what he did."
"I have never heard so much controversy over a little piece of land," said Ruth Gray. "I don't see the big issue."
Lloyd said you could ask 10 children who E.E. Wallace was and they would not be able to tell you, but you could ask 50 and they would tell you who Rev. Johnnie Hollins was.
Wallace served as fire chief of Ferriday for about 30 years.
"There was a lot of history on Fourth Street before they changed the name to E.E. Wallace," Lloyd said. "You have Haney's Big House and three churches that all had to change. It's time we started giving black men their props."
McGlothin said the alley ran to the end to an unnamed road that goes to Carolina Avenue.
Lance asked about possibly naming one of the numbered streets after Hollins.
After more heated discussion, McGlothin told the crowd he did not want any animosity to come about as a result of the vote and asked everyone to accept the vote and go out shaking hands.
Banks then made the motion and it was seconded by Lloyd.
Henry Boxley talked to the alderman about the sewage problem in Lancaster Addition.
"There are kids playing in ditches with sewage in them," Boxley said.
McGlothin said it would cost $1 million to replace all the sewer lines, but he is applying for a $182,000 Demonstrative Needs Grant to help alleviate the problem.
"We'll bring in cameras to do a study to identify the problem and hopefully fine a busted water line that we can fix," McGlothin said. Until then, we're going to divert the lift station at Arkansas to the Ohio station."
McGlothin said he worked for grants in his previous terms to have those sewer lines repaired in Lancaster, but was never able to obtain a grant.
McGlothin agreed to obtain quotes for a lift station on Martin Luther King. "It's almost completely gone," McGlothin said. "We applied for some money and we do have it."
Phillip and Dorothy Eames discussed the noise problem and water problem at the former Trak station and the car wash located next door near Woodland.
Ferguson said she will arrange a meeting with the owners of the building.
Heather Lanius Sloan of the Concordia Parish Economic District advised the board she is setting up an economic development community meeting for Ferriday.
"This will involve all the representatives of Ferriday from aldermen, school board representatives, Technical College and Police Jury," Sloan said. "We're going to sit down and look at the strengths and weaknesses for Ferriday and go from there. This will serve as a pilot program which I would like to implement in all the communities in the parish because each community is very unique."
The board also discussed condemned houses. McGlothin proprety owners are not responding to notices. Ferguson said she will research alternatives in which the owners would not have to be contacted.
McGlothin said the town has sent letters to the owner of Davis Mortuary on Delaware Street because he found a water moccasin and rats inside. Justin Conner called Davis on his cellphone and put him on speaker phone to speak with the board during the meeting.
Davis said he is planning on renovating the building and asked for a few more months.
The board voted to pay Ridgecrest Volunteer Fire Department $450 to help them move a tower. Ferriday Fire Department has been using Ridgecrest's tower and its frequency.
McGlothin asked Fire Chief Joe Sontoyo to look into acquiring funds build its own tower.
McGlothin said the town has been approved a $1.8 million grant for renovating the former Pasternack property and other parts of downtown.
"Everybody thought that was a done deal, but it has always been in limbo," McGlothin said. "It was approved in October. I want to thank Andy Anders, Neil Riser and Francis Thompson with their help on that."
McGlothin said those three also helped with a $14,400 grant he wants to use for camera security downtown, a $25,000 grant he wants to use to make downtown handicap accessible and a $7.900 grant to be used for equipment for the police department.
The board took bids under advisement, with Air Master of DeRidder giving the lowest bid of $23,500 for an aerator for the oxidation pond.
Donald Whittington gave a bid of $7,200 for repairing a levee slide at the pond.
The board then took bids on surplus supplies, including several bids of $250 for run-down cars from Betty Barlow.
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