The Ouachita Parish Police Jury voted earlier this week to close Cheniere Lake recreational Area No. 6 to the public in light of mounting litter and vandalism problems.
The Police Jury acted on the matter during a meeting held Tuesday.
“It’s on the dead end of a road,” said Police Jury Vice President Jack Clampit, who offered the motion. “We’ve got some problems with litter. We’ve got some problems with vandalism.”
Police Juror Larry Bratton asked whether the closure would prevent the public from accessing any structures at Area 6, which is located off Little Lake Road.
“No,” Clampit said. “There are no picnic tables, nothing. It’s strictly a launch area.”
Police Juror Michael Thompson Sr. asked how much money would be required to improve the area. Police Jury President Shane Smiley estimated the cost to clean up litter would be high.
“I’ve had people call and ask when it would be re-developed because they enjoy going out there to fish,” Thompson said.
Clampit noted that most people fished from Cheniere Areas No. 1 and 3.
The cost of improving the area was not feasible because people could not launch a boat from the Area 6 boat ramp with the lake’s water level down, according to Assistant District Attorney Jay Mitchell, who serves as the Police Jury’s legal counsel.
“It’s a secluded area, away from the others,” Mitchell said. “The Police Jury does have an ordinance that closes it when it’s dark because that area is hard to police.”
“With the lake down, you can’t get out there,” he added.
Prior to the vote, Clampit pointed out that keeping Area 6 open attracted unwanted activity and created a liability problem for the parish. The vote to close Area 6 was unanimous.
Don Plunk Jr., who chairs the Cheniere Lake Citizens Advisory Committee, declined to add anything further.
In other news, the Police Jury signed off on a memorandum of understanding between the Monroe Fire Department, the West Monroe Fire Department and the Ouachita Parish Fire Department to seek a grant for new radios.
If accepted, firefighters at the three departments could get a total of 200 handheld radios, according to Mitchell. Ninety of those handheld radios would go to the parish fire department, he said.
Mitchell said the cities had agreed to a 10-percent match, though he said he remembered the cities previously committing to a 15-percent match.
“Subject to that clarification, it’s something the fire department has budgeted and it would be a great benefit to the fire department to get these radios through the grant,” Mitchell said.