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The mayors of Ridgecrest and Clayton this week outlined plans for improvements to their villages in 2020.

Both Ridgecrest Mayor Veller Ray Carroll and Clayton Mayor Josephine Washington mentioned cleanup with Carroll eyeing infrastructure improvements.

Washington hopes to attract businesses and has annexation on her mind.

The year 2020 will be the first full year of Carroll’s term. He defeated former Ridgecrest Alderman Connie Adair by 10 votes in October’s primary election. Before being elected mayor, Carroll was interim mayor after Robert Maples resigned last June.

Receiving a Louisiana Community Block Grant (LCDBG) to tie in with Ferriday water system is his main objective in 2020, Carroll said.

Ridgecrest is one of 60 applicants in the second stage of applying for part of a $20 million LCDBG allocated by the Office of Community Development. Final funding decisions will be announced in April.

“I want to help improve Ridgecrest,” Carroll said. 

In October, Ridgecrest was approved for a USDA loan/grant totaling $999,000 guaranteeing the tie in will be done. Of the total amount approved by the USDA, $565,000 is a loan and $434,000 is a grant.

If Ridgecrest is approved for the LCDBG, the loan would be absolved.

The proposed work will involve sandblasting and cleaning the interior and exterior of their water tower, purchasing and installing a new ground storage tank, installing a water line from Ferriday’s water plant to Ridgecrest’s storage tank, purchasing new radio-controlled water meters and installing a handicap bathroom in city hall, Carroll said. The water line will run down Vidalia Drive.

Additionally, Carroll hopes to continue drainage improvements in Ridgecrest, a problem that again became prevalent in recent heavy rains that hit Concordia Parish Jan. 1 and 2.

“I was out at 11 Thursday night unstopping culverts to help with drainage,” Carroll said.

Along with clean ditches and canals, Carroll said he wants to see burned out homes cleared in Ridgecrest and traffic speeds controlled.

Town Council members approved the hiring of John Smith as a Ridgecrest police officer in their December meeting with hopes after a trial period he will be able to move into the chief’s position.

Carroll said Smith was doing a good job.

There will be an election in Clayton this spring for mayor and three aldermen post, down from the present five aldermen.

Washington, who is seeking re-election, said one of her established goals in 2020 would be the removal of blighted properties. She believes this would improve the image of Clayton.

“As I look around, it looks like we live in poverty,” Washington said. “We are going to change, or we are going to be left behind. The world is changing, so we have to change.”

Additionally, she is looking into the annexation of the Red Gum area located along La. Hwy 15 that includes the Washington Heights community.

Washington also said work would continue to land a Family Dollar store as well as financing street improvements, improving senior living and development of community recreation centers for Clayton.

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