Police Jury Vice President Jack Clampit.JPG

Photo by Zach Parker

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury voted earlier this week to offer the former Calhoun Research Station property for sale for $9.9 million.

The Calhoun Technology Park, as police jurors commonly refer to it now, has 330 acres.

The Police Jury tackled the matter during its regular meeting Monday.

Police Jury Vice President Jack Clampit said setting a price was the next step toward making the property a development-ready site. Clampit referred to Graphic Packaging’s expansion in eastern Ouachita Parish as an example of the benefits of having a development-ready site.

Northeast Louisiana Economic Partnership, or NLEP, will help list the Calhoun Technology Park through Louisiana Economic Development. A development certified site listed by LED means environmental studies, soil analysis and surveys among other site details have already been prepared.

“Setting a price was the final piece to getting certified,” Clampit said. “NLEP will shoot a video of the property to show all the assets of the site and publish to LED.”

Clampit said the Police Jury arrived at the $9.9 million price by evaluating the property in comparison to other properties and projects in the area.

“It’s only been four years in the making,” he added.

On another front, the Police Jury awarded a bid for road work on Red Cut Road to Diamond B Construction for less than $750,000. The project’s budget was $865,000.

Clampit said the low bid was good news for taxpayers.

“That’s $150,000 we can spend on another road project,” Clampit said.

The road project will be paid for through a sales tax levied in western Ouachita Parish, otherwise known as the “west side tax.”

In other business, the Police Jury sold 2.5 acres at the West Ouachita Industrial Park to EMS Electric LLC for $25,000.

Meanwhile, Rev. David Prophit, of Monroe, spoke during the meeting’s visitor session and asked the Police Jury to pay for the repair of his church’s parking lot. Prophit is minister at Dellwood Church of God off U.S. Hwy 165. He claimed the parking lot now had holes and cracks in it.

“Earlier this year, a young man had a seizure and fell down at my body shop, which I own and have operated for years,” Prophit said. “A truck came out on my parking lot. The fire truck is pretty heavy. I admit that the concrete is old and has cracks in it. What I would like for this council to do, if possible, is get the attorney to revisit it. Lawyers have a special eye. If it would be possible, would you get the attorney to revisit that and seem if some solution can be come up with. “

“I ain’t got any business going to court on this. Church doesn’t have any business suing,” Prophit added.

Assistant District Attorney Jay Mitchell, who serves as the Police Jury’s legal counsel, argued the parish faced similar claims on a weekly basis. His review of Prophit’s request followed standard procedures.

Mitchell said he reviewed Google Earth data from previous years and observed that there were cracks in the church’s parking lot from previous years, prior to the arrival of the fire engine.

“The facts haven’t changed,” Mitchell said. “My opinion won’t change.”

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