Gilbert and Wisner mayors want to move cleanup efforts forward, develop parks and recreation along with improving their municipalities’ infrastructure in 2020.

A beautification project centered around Gilbert’s gazebo has been scheduled for this year, said Mayor Michael Stephens.

With help from the Gilbert Women’s Club, a grant was received to finance pouring concrete around the village’s gazebo for picnic tables and landscaping.

Additionally, Stephens would like to see a children’s park located behind the area.

Along with the gazebo area, Stephens said he wants to see Main Street buildings receive a new coat of paint.

“We’re going to talk with business owners and see what we can do,” Stephens said.

Meanwhile, Gilbert officials are waiting on word from a Louisiana Community Development Block Grant (LCDBG) to see if they are one of 60 applicants to receive part of $20 million allocated by the Office of Community Development. Funding will be announced in April.

If approved, Gilbert will use proceeds to repair sewer lines on Third and Fourth streets, install an additional lift station, refurbish current lift stations and repair manholes, Stephens said.

“This is one of our biggest projects in Gilbert,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll get the sewer grant.”

On another front, Gilbert and Wisner officials will continue their battle with blighted property within their corporate limits.

Both mayors have mailed letters to blighted property owners requesting cleanup.

Currently, weather is a big factor in removing blight, Stephens said.

“We are going to work with people,” Stephens said. “When the weather gets better, we are going to step up our efforts.”

In 2020, McCarty said he wants to build on improvements that were made in Wisner.

“I want to put in motion a lot of the groundwork that was laid last year,” McCarty said. “We have several projects that are ready to go to the next step, and people are about to start seeing a lot of progress.”

One such project will be giving all town-owned property a fresh coat of paint.

“We have a color scheme that we will use,” McCarty said. “It’s going to look nice. We’re hoping the business owners will see our progress and begin on their building improvements.”

Two parks are in the works for Wisner.

The Crawford Park will be located next to Franklin Parish Library Wisner branch and will feature a children’s playground along with a shaded sitting area.

Wisner entered into a 10-year lease for a one-acre plot of land to house the park with Eddie Wayne Crawford, son of the late E.P. and Vaudie Crawford, for $1 a year.

“We are now in the process of sitting down and designing the park,” McCarty said.

A children’s music park may also be established in 2020 if funding is obtained, said McCarty.

This additional park will contain durable, outdoor musical instruments and sitting areas. Funding for musical instruments will be from sponsors with the land being donated, McCarty said.

“Musical play is multigenerational,” McCarty said. “Children, parents and grandparents can all interact by playing music together. This is going to be a nice, clean space and will be well lit at night.”

McCarty hopes the musical park will be a cornerstone to improvements along Main Street and throughout Wisner.

“(The musical park) will dress up the area,” McCarty said. “It is going to be unique and something different for the town.”

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