Ruston City Council Meeting Highlights, Sept. 13

By Jim Wilkerson

On Monday, Sept. 13, the Ruston City Council convened for its scheduled monthly meeting. Here are some of the highlights:

The council unanimously voted to enter its annual agreement with Ruston Youth Baseball. City attorney Bill Carter said that this was simply a routine deal that is renewed every year. When asked why the agreement lasts for only one year, Carter responded that this allows for more flexibility in tweaking the contract, if needed.

Concerning field usage at the complex south of town, director of the Ruston Sports Complex, Megan Rowe, informed the council that every organization will be given an allotted time slot to have access to the fields. Ruston Dixie, the primary user of the baseball complex, will have the turf fields Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and the other days will be reserved for other organizations.

Councilwoman Carolyn Cage did not think it was fair that Ruston Dixie had the fields for that many days of the week. Rowe responded by assuring her that this was the best approach to giving everyone equal access to the field. Rowe also said that on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Ruston Dixie will not necessarily be taking up all the fields and that the extra fields will be open for other teams who are interested.

Ultimately, the council unanimously voted to reenter the agreement, despite Cage’s reservations.

In addition, the City of Ruston is selling land to Kilpatrick Investments, LLC, with the understanding that Kilpatrick Investments will build a hotel on the property. The size of the lot being sold is approximately 2.8 acres.

The idea for building the hotel falls in line with the larger economic development plan that is being carried out by the City of Ruston. The hotel and other projects like it, in theory, will draw in more customers to Ruston who will then create a positive ripple effect in the economy by buying Ruston goods and services, according to Mayor Ronny Walker.

The board unanimously agreed to the contract, and the Lincoln Parish Journal will be following the developments of the new hotel and the economic development plan as they progress.

Further, the City Council voted to postpone selling the old federal building. This was covered in a previous article published in the Lincoln Parish Journal yesterday, but the summary is as follows:

Mayor Walker brought forth a motion to sell the old federal building located in downtown Ruston, since the city could not afford to pay for all the repairs. Still, the City Council, after hearing the pleas of concerned citizens who want the Ruston public art project to continue, voted to postpone the decision to sell the building to a later date.

Finally, the City of Ruston will begin working on acquiring property to build sidewalks as part of the Safe Routes to Public Places Program. Public Works Utilities Manager Andrew Halbrook informed the council that one of the project’s major focuses is building a sidewalk to I.A. Lewis. Some council members also expressed their desire to have sidewalks built along Martin Luther King Drive, but this has not yet been set in motion. The project to build the sidewalk to I.A. Lewis is only in its early stages, so it might take years before it is finished.

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