Based on a discussion at the June 15 meeting of the Winnfield City Council, local residents may soon see an improved look at the Earl K. Long Park on Maple Street. It won’t be a major overhaul but simply a long-needed fix-up, clean-up.
Shonna Moss with the Louisiana Political Museum opened the discussion during “Public Comments” when she complained that while the grounds are being mown, there is no weed-eating or garden tending, especially around the brick & benches area surrounding the statue of Long. She emphasized that this is the actual gravesite of the former governor and the disrepair is “a disgrace.” Vandalism and neglect have combined to hurt the park’s image.
Moss handed pictures of these problems to council members but received little response at the time. This may have been due to the fact that the item of “Earl K. Long Park Upkeep” came up later on the agenda under New Business, with discussion led by councilman Matt Miller. He agreed that the park is mown but has weeds growing through the sidewalks, and has weeds and vines growing in the garden area.
“I think the city should weed-eat on a regular basis and work to improve the flowerbeds.” He said perhaps the local Master Gardeners organization could assist. He also pointed to a stump that should be removed.
Mayor Jerald Hamms told the council that he has spoken with County Agent Donny Moon and reported that that Master Gardeners have agreed to assist. He added that Teen Challenge has asked to be a part of the makeover. “I have a plan in place. We’re going to make sure this happens.”
In other action, the council agreed to allow the mayor to begin negotiations with JCL Power, LLC, on a contract to conduct an “attachment audit” of the city’s 10,000 power poles. A company representative who made a video presentation at the meeting suggested that 75% of those poles have attachments, or add-on wires by contractors like AT&T and Optimum. He went on to suggest that most of those attachments are done counter to federal regulations and that the fees that “attachees” are currently paying the city for the use of the poles is far less than industry standard.
There would be some up-front costs to the city but the council heard that most costs would be borne by the attachees. The rep assured members that JCL Power would handle all the third-party negotiations and billings. He stated that customers of any phone or cable companies involved would not see a rate increase due to the audit. The city hopes to receive substantially more income annually from the various contractors and would end up having a GIS system of its entire pole network (as would each of the contractors).
Cutline P-1: City Park Carpenter (no cutline) Photo of Johnny Ray Carpenter at podium.