It’s time for the City of Franklin to get the fledgling industrial park property and initiative transferred over to the Port of West St. Mary.

The people of St. Mary Parish have waited long enough. It’s been months that the transfer has been in the works, and many of those months passed with nary a word on the progress of the transfer, while others passed with reasonable explanations that have nonetheless taken far, far too long to be resolved.

A project that has been trying to bud for years now, the industrial park property on the Baldwin Canal just south of U.S. 90 is a diamond in the rough awaiting a gem cutter. It needs the special abilities and powers of the port district to make it happen, and it needs it now.

It was easy to make nice and understand that there were some ruffles that had to be smoothed out, some details scrutinized, watching of the p’s and q’s.

It’s not easy anymore. It’s taken too long.

In this post-KatRita economy, we’re missing boat after boat with our inaction.

In the October 2006 economic outlook report released by LSU’s Dr. Loren Scott it was reported, "We are projecting the rural area of Louisiana….will see their employment rising by 2,000 a year over 2007-2008. Most of that will be focused in two parishes…St. Mary, driven by an expansion in the extraction industry..."

That means us, folks.

We don’t really care what the holdup is anymore. It’s time to get it done. We missed the boat on the Oil Center decades ago. We’ve stood on the shore and watched our ships go sailing out to sea without us time after time and again.

Not this time. It’s time to get it done.

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A few months ago St. Mary Parish Councilman Albert Foulcard quite correctly pointed out that the chain link and barb wire fence surrounding the old ramp on the Blevins Building was an "eyesore."

I’ll supplement Mr. Foulcard’s comment by saying it looks like something that fell off the back of a garbage truck as it made the corner.

Councilman Foulcard asked that the matter be looked into and something be done about it. I haven’t seen a smidgen of interest in it since.

It’s rather embarassing that a parish-owned building would look so horrid. It certainly sends a signal to visitors and business that government itself doesn’t really care what face it presents to the outside world. That fence is disgraceful.

It desperately needs to be removed and – after application to and approval of the Franklin Historic District Commission – a better face put forward. Parish government is not above the law, and needs to comply with historic district guidelines in the replacement.

I understand the security issues and such, but come on! One of the hottest-growing parishes in rural Louisiana can do better than that derelict from a scrapyard. The City of Franklin’s administration, staff and downtown merchants have worked too hard to improve the business and historic district to put up with an eyesore like that.

It’s time to get it done.

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I’d also like to see a nice paintjob put on the pavillion at Park sur a Teche, and on the historic district signs at both ends of the district. That won’t break the bank.

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Conversely, never let it be said that I’m blind to the good. The city cemetery looks terrific this week, insofar as I can see from La. 182.

And the first round of renovations to the water plant are in place and steps taken to continue reconstruction of both that facility and the sewer plant. Good work.

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And of course, at the parish level, there’s…

Uhm…

Well, there’s…

Never mind.