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Wisner officials have closed the Town Hall and community center as numbers of COVID-19 escalate in Louisiana.

Officials will check voicemails each afternoon and will continue to process water bills, said Mayor Marc McCarty. Residents are asked to mail or slip checks or money orders through the door slot. Town crews will limit activity to checking water and sewer issues. To leave a recording, residents are asked to call (318) 724-6568.

“We are closing the lobby as a precautionary measure,” McCarty said. “We will re-open, but right now I do not have a definite date.”

Meanwhile, officials continue to wait on “legal paperwork” to start refurbishing a Fort Scott Street building that will become a business incubator, McCarty announced at Wisner’s regular meeting March 12.

“We are in the final stages of getting (the paperwork) done,” McCarty said.

The one-story building, formerly the Wisner branch of the Franklin Parish Library in the ‘80s and ‘90s, was donated by Lane Feltus and family. Feltus is the grandson of the original owner, William Feltus. His family owned and operated Feltus Brothers Hardware in Natchez for many years.

Renovations will be financed through grant funds and in-kind work. When finished, the building will be available for startup businesses at a low rent.

In a related topic, work continues to move forward on Crawford Park.

McCarty has met with park planners on playground equipment and designs.

Crawford Park, which will be located beside Franklin Parish Library’s Wisner branch will possibly feature one “main playground area” along with spring toys, picnic tables and benches. An estimated cost for playground equipment will be approximately $26,000, McCarty said.

“This equipment is not cheap, but it is good quality,” McCarty said. “This park is going to be good for the community, and the price is about what I thought it would be.”

To finance the playground equipment, McCarty and town officials are looking into possible grants and additional fundraising activities.

“We are about to get into some serious fundraising,” McCarty said. “We are going to do our best to have this become a reality. It’s moving. We just have to get a grooving.”

Wisner officials entered into a 10-year lease with Eddie Wayne Crawford, son of the original owners E.P. and Vaudie Crawford to obtain the land for the park.

The Crawfords were long-time residents of Wisner with Vaudie Crawford being a local beautician and E.P. Crawford working for Gilbert Oil in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Eddie Wayne Crawford is a retired police officer in Dallas.

Additionally, Town Council members discussed ways to improve parking around the community center.

During some events, parking has overflowed into the Post Office parking lot and has blocked Wisner’s Fire Department entrance.

Town Council member Jo Caldwell recommended adding stronger language in the community’s center contract concerning the parking and forbidding attendees to park at the Post Office and Fire Department.

Town Council members also discussed removing the cyclone fence around Wisner’s town barn located behind the community center in hopes of providing more parking to those attending events.

Additionally, the front of Wisner’s Town Hall will soon be “spruced up” with a fresh coat of paint and new lettering.

“We are going to start with the town hall, and hopefully this will inspire other Front Street building owners to start improving their building’s faces,” McCarty said.

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