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The West Monroe Board of Aldermen agreed Tuesday to file an application with the state to become a certified retirement community.

Acting during its regular meeting, the Board of Aldermen approved a resolution authorizing the application with the Louisiana Encore Commission for status as a Louisiana Certified Retirement Community.

The state Certified Retirement Community Program promotes certain cities through state-sponsored marketing materials as premier locations for retirees. Certification as a retirement community also could open up avenues for state funding through the state Office of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.

“It gets us more publicity on websites and different information out to people who may be retiring and looking for somewhere to live,” said West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell. “This is just another certification to get us into that market.”

According to Mitchell, West Monroe already meets the requirements to earn certification as a retirement community.

“This is something we learned that we already meet all the requirements,” said Mitchell. “We have the only nationally accredited senior center in Louisiana, and we’ve met all the other requirements as far as the health requirements, medical facilities, services and various things.”

“It just helps market our community,” Mitchell added.

Courtney Hornsby, Mitchell’s chief of staff, is handling the application process and expects the city to learn the outcome of its application next year.

“The application is due in early December to the state of Louisiana,” Hornsby said. “We should hear something back in early 2020.”

In other news, West Monroe recently received nearly $1 million in federal funding to complete the city’s commercial park frontage road drainage improvements project. The city has designated the area near the Ike Hamilton Expo Center as a commercial park.

“We had a grant from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), and it was for right at $1 million,” said Robbie George, the city’s consulting engineer with S.E. Huey Co., a Monroe engineering firm. “The city put in $500,000. The construction bid came back at $1.8 million.”

Aldermen also voted to accept an additional DRA grant of $336,884 during Tuesday’s meeting to meet the construction costs for the same project.

“It’s just an additional allocation we applied for and (they) gave us,” George said.

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