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Demolition list of blighted properties is presented to VPCC

Mayor Jennifer Vidrine presented the Ville Platte City Council, during its meeting Tuesday, a demolition list consisting of 12 properties whose owners have been sent letters and called but have done nothing.
The council approved the tearing down of the houses. The next step is to get with the contractors to decide on a date of when the houses will be torn down, and the city will send the owners another letter telling them when the property will be demolished. Other owners who did not pick up their certified letters will be served by the city marshal’s office, after which time the city will proceed with demolition. She said there are over 300 properties on the list.
Mayor Vidrine said some of the properties being torn down will become “pocket parks” with art and will involve children and other members of the community. “We’re going to make the communities and the neighborhoods something that the people can be proud of, and hopefully the good people there will help the bad people to not be so bad when they see something good in the community.”
The council also heard from the Evangeline Arts Council’s secretary, Suzy Lemoine, and treasurer, Jan Veillon, who introduced the new organization. They are an official 501(c)(3) non profit dedicated to bringing art to Evangeline Parish. They will be holding a Roaring ‘20s New Year’s Eve party at the Civic Center on December 31. The’ Girls and Boys Place will be providing the food, and the money made will be for them. The Evangeline Arts Council provides art classes for children every Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and adult classes are from 12:30 until. They are located at the Evangline Chamber of Commerce office. Mayor Vidrine said the arts council is welcome to display art at city hall.
Mayor Vidrine announced the Acadiana Planning Commission and DOTD are spending about $50,000 on signage and striping for the curve by the railroad track on Hickory Street. She said the curve is very dangerous. The council approved the work, and they will not have to pay anything, as it is part of a grant from a safety program. She also said they will be looking at other areas in the city for the planning commission and DOTD to work on safety issues.
The city council also approved a city-wide Clean Up Coup de Main for Saturday, October 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The city partnered with the Solid Waste Commission. They are asking residents to clean up their yards and asking them to put their trash in bags near the road. She said they have a tracking system, and city workers will go pick up trash when people call. Mayor Vidrine said the best way to clean the city is for people to start with their own yards and the ditches in front of their homes. “If your yard is already clean, go to the next street and help them clean.” She asked people not to throw grass clippings or leaves into the ditches, but to bag them instead and call to have it picked up. Suzy Lemoine said people who participate in the cleanup can receive free books that day at the Friends of the Library book festival at the Ville Platte library.
Mayor Vidrine also announced total expenses for September was $199,786.11, which was $20,261.68 less than expenses for August. She said they had to repair a pump on well number eight, which cost around $13,000, and needed a new motor on one of the wells, which cost around $9,000.
The council approved the Halloween trick-or-treat hours from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 31.
The council approved the hiring of a part-time jailer, provided she passes her drug screening and physical. The mayor asked Lartigue how they are doing with the new officers hired. He said he lost three of them who did not pass all the requirements. He said there are three left, and one has about 10 weeks left in the academy. He said he has more applications to fill the positions.
In other news, councilwoman Faye Lemoine said the council is thinking and praying for city marshal Ronald T. Doucet who has been in ill health. She thanked Sharon Fontenot, director of the Swamp Pop Museum, for having a successful birthday party for the museum at the end of September. She also thanked Connie Lamke for successfully putting together the Bras on the Bayou event. She recognized Fire Chief Chris Harrison and the fire department for Fire Safety Month. “I thank you for putting your lives on the line for us. We appreciate what you do for us.” Harrison thanked her and said they are visiting various locations around town to discuss fire safety.
The council room, and most of the council, were dressed in pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The tree in the main room of City Hall was donned in pink, also. Vidrine said, “All of us have been touched in one way or another by breast cancer, either a mother, aunt, sister, cousin, and it’s even gone into men. It’s a disease that touches everybody in some way, so we’re asking all of you to please continue to support pink in all of October and even when October is over.” She also announced the annual haunted house at the Boys ‘n’ Girls Place on Halloween night, and reminded everyone about upcoming homecoming games; November 1 for Ville Platte High, and November 8 for Sacred Heart.

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