OPELOUSAS — The Board of Aldermen adopted a resolution 5-1 Tuesday night to enter into an agreement with the St. Landry Parish Council to reconstruct a road in front of a charter school set to open later this month.
St. Landry Parish Council chairman Wayne Ardoin, who did not attend the Opelousas board meeting, said the parish council will consider the proposed agreement at a July 18 meeting.
“It’s not a done deal yet. The council still has to approve it,” Ardoin said in a telephone interview after Tuesday’s meeting.
Representatives from J.S. Clark Leadership Academy, a charter school approved earlier this year by the Louisiana Department of Education, said the school is prepared to help finance the overlay construction costs by paying $31,000 for materials.
School officials said that initially about 180 students in grades 5-7 will attend J.S. Clark.
Tiffani Lewis, the school’s executive director, said the school is asking that the city and parish provide the equipment and labor costs for the project.
Lewis said the school’s share of the expenses will come from donations and not from state money that will be used to operate the school.
City engineer William Jarrell III estimated the project will cost $45,000 for what Lewis said is about 800 feet of Statesman Road, which passes in front of the site.
Jarrell said that means the parish and city would contribute about $8,000 each for machines and labor to spread asphalt and improve the roadway.
Mayor Donald Cravins Sr. said only a small portion of Statesman Road is inside the city limits.
“The road as it is right now is in total disrepair,” said Cravins.
Alderman Reggie Tatum, who voted against the resolution, said there are other roads in the city that need repair.
“It just looks bad. We’re telling citizens that there’s no way we can fix their roads and then for us to fix a road outside the city limits. They (citizens) will be in an uproar,” Tatum said.
Jessie Bellard, chief administrative officer for St. Landry Parish, said he supports the project.
“I see it as a win-win for the parish. (The parish) can gain a road that is now in very bad condition but that will be repaired at little or no cost. I see nothing to lose,” Bellard told the board.
Aldermen Joe Charles, Julius Alsandor, Louis Butler, Blair Briggs and Jacqueline Martin voted for the project.