Feature photo: The Lafayette Parish School Board Office. Photo by Kristen Deville.
A debate on approval to build a proposed sidewalk at Green T. Lindon Elementary School unexpectedly dominated the Lafayette Parish School Board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
During the meeting, interests were peaked on financial costs and safety concerns of what constructing the sidewalk entails. The diverse opinions from the board led to an hour-long discussion resulting in the approval of the agenda item.
Ken Ritter, Mayor of Youngsville, said the sidewalk easement would extend from the Youngsville Sports Complex to Foster Park, extending around the Green T. Lindon playground, at no cost to the board. The sidewalk would allow for water to continue to drain off of the playground.
According to Ritter, the City of Youngsville would use a Recreational Trails Program grant administered through the Lieutenant Governor’s office for recreation to pay for the cost of the sidewalk.
“I see it as a win-win for everyone, it is an improvement to your property, it’s at no cost to yourself, and it is just enabling us to construct a sidewalk connected around the existing playground,” said Ritter.
In his proposal, Ritter discussed concerns circling about the chain link fence that surrounds the playground next to where the new sidewalk would be built. The five or six-foot fence would need to be upgraded to an eight-foot chain link fence. Ritter went on to offer $7,500 from the City of Youngsville to help pay for the new fence and ease the concerns.
Rickey Boudreaux, Chief of Police for the City of Youngsville took the stand in agreement with the mayor. Boudreaux sees the sidewalk as a positive for the children of Youngsville and as a way to prevent traffic hazards.
“The sidewalk is a much needed safe travel way to the school… this sidewalk would not only provide a safe way to travel to the school, walking distance for the kids, but it will already relieve a horrendous traffic problem in that area,” said Boudreaux, referring to the two schools within three blocks of one another.
Various school board members voiced their concerns on the specific language needed in the contract, including specifications on drainage as well as funding for the fence improvements.
A substitute motion was made by Kate Bailey Labue of District 7 to fix the servitude language, but was later withdrawn.
After much discussion and a 5-4 vote, the original motion to approve a sidewalk servitude around the playground at Green T. Lindon Elementary School was approved.