Landowners Oppose Levee Bike Trail

The Rapides Bicycle Trail Committee of the Police Jury met again today to talk about the proposed levee trail from Alexandria to Marksville.  Many landowners showed up in opposition to the plan.  ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey has more.

One landowner said, “Do you know between Alexandria and Boyce which is about 14 miles there are over 40 cattle guards and gates.  Most of those represent a property line.  So that’s the families that you are trying to disrupt with this cotton picking bike trail.”

The room was filled with landowners opposing a levee bike trail from Alexandria to Marksville.  Committee Member Robert Bussey tells us what the meeting was all about.

“Today’s meeting was an opportunity to gather more information either positive or negative information in regard to the possibility of using the Red River levee for a bike path or walking path.”

Bussey compared the proposed project to two current paths on Louisiana levees.

“The Baton Rouge levee bike trail and then the Mississippi levee bike trail, both of those are on top of levees and that’s what we’re talking about doing in Rapides Parish.  The Baton Rouge Levee Bike Trail runs from downtown Baton Rouge to the casino that’s all paved after that it’s not paved so it goes into rural areas which includes cattle farmers which is similar to our levee where we have lots of cattle farmers.”

Bussey said to keep in mind that the project is only in the very beginning stage of information gathering.

“This is a fact finding committee.  They’re supposed to take into consideration the opposition as well as those in favor.”

Even though many opposed the plan at the meeting there has been support as well but it’s too early to predict the success or failure of the plan.

“We also had some petitions that were handed in of 200 some people that had signed a petition saying they were in favor of it.  So I don’t know that we can just count numbers.  We’ve got to look at all aspects of this including the potential economic benefits to this parish and other parishes where this might continue.”