Mayor Jeff Hall Addresses Community Centers, Flooding, Bringhurst Field

Today Mayor Jeff Hall gave his monthly state of the city address, this time at a community center that he highlighted as having new programs for youth coming up.  ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey was there and spoke with the mayor on topics like flooding and public works improvements.

At the teen and youth center formerly the Boys and Girls Club of Alexandria the mayor spoke on a wide variety of topics including extending the hours of community centers to include tutoring and basketball.

“The bottom line is for us to do what we can to help our young people do better perform better, and we have a partnership with the Rapides Parish School Board that’s the subject matter experts who are going to be working with them.  So all of our centers are open to various tutoring programs as well as some of the other amenities that we spoke about.”

After school tutoring begins in full September 19 and basketball will begin as well.

“Only in two gyms will we have basketball it will be here and Frank O. Hunter that’s the only two centers where we have gymnasiums.  They will be going on along with other programs even a boxing program that we will have from 9 to 11:30 on Saturdays”

The mayor talked about yesterday’s flooding and the work being done to help folks in low-lying areas.

“All the systems work properly recognizing that it was a lot of rain.  We thank God it stopped when it stopped, but the systems did work like they were supposed to.  We did have some problems in some of the low-lying areas, but we are still working on it.  All of the drainage systems that we are working on are not finished yet the engineering and construction is ongoing with various projects.

“We did see better improvement in certain areas.  We did have some people who did get some water in their places in various areas, but we did respond as best we could and did what we could to help them. The rain subsided and the water eventually began to drain because the tributaries that that water goes to had taken all it could take.  So, it’s going to back up.  But we did much better in this episode than we have in the past as a result of the work that’s been done and being done on the system.  A lot better results are going to take place once we are able to get that water diverted to the Red River.  That’s a longer project that’s underway right now.  But that would certainly help a lot of people in those typically regular flooding area and even other parts of central Louisiana.”

Under the mayor’s tenure he has seen two hurricanes and three back-to-back ice storm that knocked out power, caused loss of water pressure and resulted in boil advisories.  There are plans for new water wells and generators to operated them in a storm.

“The bottom line is that we’ll be able to continue to operate even if we lost power of our major water sources in some of the rural areas.  What we’re trying to do and what we’ve done is try to avoid what has happened in the past where you have the boil advisories because the water pressure got so low because of the lack of power or the lack of capacity to keep the water going.  We have been able to secure dollars from various areas to dig new water wells and acquire generators to keep the power going… We still got a ways to go but we are better than what we were when we started.

The mayor said that aging infrastructure is always a problem for cities like Alexandria but they are also working to address that issue.