Ville Platte City Council hears from concerned citizen about Whistle Stop Bar
An issue that was tabled at last month’s meeting of the Ville Platte City Council was again discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting as the council heard from a concerned member of the community in opposition to the issue.
The issue is an alcohol permit that is being requested by Margo Fontenette, who is wanting to open a bar at the old Whistle Stop location on the corner of LaSalle Street and NW Railroad Avenue.
Thomas McFarlain addressed the council and mayor on behalf of Evangeline ARC that is operating inside the old Deville Lumber Company building.
“There are 55 developmentally disabled men and women from Ville Platte, Mamou, and throughout the parish who attend our program everyday,” McFarlain said. “They are instructed in various activities so that they may improve their ability to participate in society and integrate into the society. In addition, there exists a home for six disabled men on the property who need structure and normalcy of community living to progress in their lives as productive citizens of Ville Platte. There is further a respite program across the street that is used by eight disabled individuals primarily on weekends.”
McFarlain added that he feels the bar across the street will be detrimental to those individuals who “need a structured environment and a strict routine of their daily lives.”
He added, “In addition, there is not sufficient parking at the establishment; therefore, there will be illegal parking. Also, the inherent addition of trash and movement of people and vehicles late into the night and early morning hours will be very disruptive.”
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine suggested to have the owners of the proposed Whistle Stop Bar to “come before us at the next meeting and let us know exactly what type of establishment that they want to open.”
The mayor added that both sides can attend next month’s meeting to express their objections and their support. “We’ll have both sides,” she stated, “and then we will go from there.”
The mayor and council heard from another concerned resident at the meeting Tuesday. George Morgan expressed his thoughts on the city’s fight against abandoned properties. “I think the city is going to be in a big surprise,” he stated. “That’s almost against the law to tear these houses down. The city can make an ordinance, but you got to go through the state. You might have some lawsuits if you’re doing it the wrong way.”
The mayor replied, “We are doing it the legal way.”
Councilman Bryant Riggs agreed. “We are following the law because I called the state’s attorney general, and he told me that was our problem,” stated Riggs. “We had to pass the ordinance and fix our issue.”
Riggs also spoke about how he and the mayor will put their visions together to improve the parks within the city, primarily at Northside City Park. “It’s time to start developing the parks and give the kids something to do,” Riggs said. “We’re going to try to get grants, and we’re going to do fundraising. I’m going to spearhead it because it’s my district. I will give up one year of my salary, and I’m going to put that back into the park.”
The mayor stated that new equipment such as a basketball court, swings, playground system, walking trail, pavilion, and splash pad will be coming to the Northside Park in phases. She went on to state that more pavilions and splash pads will be going to Hargrove Park as well as swings at Hope Park.
Mayor Vidrine also stated that the city will be the first in the state to get $50 thousand from the Louisiana Community Development Authority to be used for overgrown grass.
In other business, the council approved the hiring of Darius Thomas as a part time jailor.