LPPJ talks Bicycle Trail Hub, emergency notifications

Pictured is  Lincoln Parish Director of Homeland Security Director Kip Franklin (standing at left) talking to the parish Police Jury Tuesday night. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright


The Lincoln Parish Police Jury moved to accept a bid to begin work on a Park Mountain Bike Flow Trail Hub at Lincoln Parish Park (LPP), adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance to taxable sewer bonds and establishing a another new emergency notification system as primary orders of business during Tuesday night’s June meeting at the Lincoln Parish Courthouse.

Jurors unanimously voted 9-0 (LPPJ members Theresa Wyatt, Glenn Scriber and Annette Straughter were absent from the meeting) to accept a bid of $372,000 from Streeter Construction of Ruston LLC contingent on a change order that will save the parish $23,000 from its original projected cost of $400,000 for the project.

Streeter made a few changes to original plans for the bike flow trails, knowing off $23,000 to ensure the costs came in under budget while not harming the desired aesthetic value of the trails.

The original bid by Streeter Construction before the changes was $395,000.

Parish Administrator Courtney Hall reminded the Jury that the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau has kicked in $300,000 for the project and that the LPP’s fund balance can cover the remaining $72,000 while LPP Director James Ramsaur said hopes are that additional funding can be found to help finish financing the project.

Ramsaur also gave a quick update on the actual new bike trails being built by Rogue Trails of Bentonville, Arkansas.

“Those guys were on site last week laying out trails,” Ramsaur said. “I met with them yesterday and revised some things. Weather permitting, they hope to start building the trail (today).

Estimates are that it will take five months to create those trails as long as weather conditions are favorable.

Jurors also heard from Lincoln Parish Homeland Security Director Kip Franklin, who discussed forming an agreement with RAVE Mobile Safety, a mass notification and incident management company that helps organizations and public safety.

 “The alert notifications will be available to all Lincoln Parish residents through a variety of sign-up campaigns,” Franklin said. “Cost factors are based on parish population with a  one-time, $2,000 set-up fee that’s been waived. For the remainder of 2023 the cost will be $2,800 funded through the parish office of Homeland Security. The cost for all of the parish in 2024 will be $8,640 which we should be able to fund through a state grant program and hopefully do that for years forward.”

Franklin said the notifications can be centralized to certain locations only or be parishwide. He also said the state funds two RAVE functions.

“One is a panic button for schools – I know Lincoln Parish Schools and Cedar Creek are using it, and I’m not sure yet about Lincoln Preparatory School,” Franklin said. “The other option is the integrated public alert warning system called IPAWS. I can push out IPAWS alerts because I’m certified in this system.

“The National Weather Service is also tied into RAVE, so you will receive weather warnings and stuff like that. The next step will be talking to parish mayors.”

Franklin said the city of Ruston is currently using Code Red but plans on coming aboard with RAVE once its Code Red contract runs out on Jan. 1.

He said the parish will begin using the system on July 1 after the motion was unanimously approved by the LPPJ.

In other business, the Jury unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance of, not exceeding $950,000, of taxable sewer bonds and providing other related matters for construction, repair and maintenance of parish wastewater systems.

The LPPJ also adopted an ordinance to geographically merge precincts, rename precincts and establish polling locations for the parish

Hall said that move will not change precincts voters cast ballots in or voting districts but is only a move to reduce the number of voting machines needed for each polling location in an effort to reduce costs.

During the meeting the LPPJ also:

• Authorized purchase of a used 12-passenger van for use in litter abatement

• Declared a 2017 Chevrolet Minivan surplus property available for sale for a minimum bid of $4,500

• Approved a preliminary plat for the Village at Choudrant Creek Phase II

• Approved a final plat for the Janis King Development (private property)

• Approved a request for use of property for a LSU Extension Officer shooting sports program

• Agreed to provide aid to the village of Vienna and village of Simsboro

• Set a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. June 22 for the purpose of receiving comments on a proposed subdivision ordinance

• Appointed Adarian Williams to represent Grambling State University on the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau

• Accepted the Lincoln Parish Sales and Use Tax Commission’s 2023/24 proposed budget

• Adopted ordinances for the sale of two adjudicated properties

• Adopted an ordinance enacting a new Code of Ordinances for the parish