ST. FRANCISVILLE — The West Feliciana Parish Council is considering purchasing a 13,000-square-foot building and land to house the parish’s social services and purchasing riverfront land for a riverboat dock.
The Feliciana Supermarket grocery store has been offered for sale to the parish. The owners plan to move the store to a new facility being constructed on U.S. 61 next to the Best Western.
Parish President Kevin Couhig said the purchase price for the building and land is $595,000, and he estimates renovations to the building will cost an additional $300,000.
“We need to spend that money to make it more functional,” Couhig told the council.
Once renovations are completed, the new building will be home to three social service organizations: the Council on Aging, the Food Pantry and the Clothes Closet. Couhig said there is sufficient room in the facility to house all three, and the parking lot, which has at least 60 spaces, will be sufficient to handle the load.
Couhig praised the store’s owners for offering it to the parish at a reasonable price as well as agreeing to leave behind shelving and coolers for the Food Pantry.
“I’d like to reiterate how the David and Leblanc families have been wonderful to work with,” he said. “I’m grateful to them.”
Couhig also asked the council to authorize the purchase of a 35-acre tract along the Mississippi River for $3,000 per acre to serve as a docking location for riverboats. He said part of the land also will be developed for recreational activities, such as fishing.
“The steamboats are a long-term successful tourism enterprise for this parish,” Couhig said, and with the recent announcement of the Viking River Cruises making St. Francisville one of three embarkation points in Louisiana, a docking facility is needed that will accommodate up to three riverboats at a time.
He said the property also will be available to host recreational and leisure activities and he’d eventually like to see the park developed with a walkway and gazebo.
The council set a public hearing for the April 13 council meeting to discuss the purchases of the grocery store and the riverfront land.
Meanwhile, an attempt to have a public hearing to discuss settling the lawsuit by the Lambert Gravel Company and the heirs of Paul Lambert Sr. against the parish was scuttled once again by a 3-3 vote with one abstention.
Voting against the hearing were John Kean, Leah Williams and Otis Wilson, while Heather Howle, Mel Percy and Melvin Young voted to support a public hearing. Councilman Ricky Lambert, whose family is involved in the suit over disputed riverfront property, abstained.
Shortly after Howle gaveled the meeting to order, the council went into executive session with its attorney to discuss the suit, which so far has cost the parish at least $516,000 and a possible court date looming in the middle of April.