Denham Springs Council seeking grants for proposed Amite River nature park _lowres

 

The Denham Springs City Council voted Tuesday to seek $100,000 in federal grant money to help pay for a long-desired nature park on the Amite River.

The grant request has been sent to the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program for Louisiana and would be used to build walking paths at the park site south of the city off 4-H Club Road.

Engineer Eddie Aydell said he would see if some funding could pay for a road to the river where the city hopes to build a boat launch.

Should the city receive the full grant amount, the council would have to kick in $25,000 of city money in matching funds.

The grant request “may be a little bit premature” because the city will not have a more concrete site plan for another month or two, but officials wanted to apply for the federal funding before the application period closed, Aydell explained.

He said the city could reapply next year, and the council is eyeing some half-dozen other grants to try to drum up funding, including financial backing from the state Wildlife and Fisheries office.

He has previously estimated the cost of the first phase of the new park between $600,000 and $700,000.

“We want to take advantage of everything we can,” said councilwoman Lori Lamm-Williams, who said the city is working with Congressman Garrett Graves to find funding sources.

In other business, Mayor Gerard Landry said before the meeting that the city began its mosquito abatement program Monday, taking up the cause after voters defunded the parish spraying program. The city has been divided into quadrants, and a truck will spray each Monday through Thursday, barring bad weather, until they run out of their $3,500 worth of chemicals, the mayor said.

The city also pledged to donate $10,000 annually for the next five years to support Livingston Economic Development, which works to lure companies to set up shop in the parish.

Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.