NEW ROADS — The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury on Tuesday night received an answer to one of the parish’s looming questions: How much is the William H. Scott Civic Center and adjoining recreational park worth?
The answer: some $4.2 million, according to appraiser Brent Loupe.
“That’s considered prime property because of its location, the condition it’s in and recent sales demand,” Loupe told the Police Jury.
The value of the Scott Civic Center, which sits on 42 acres in the 1200 block of Major Parkway in New Roads, was at the heart of the Police Jury’s now-settled feud with New Roads over the facility’s management and funding.
The center is jointly owned by the city and parish, but the city took over day-to-day operations several years ago. And in doing so, city leaders have taken credit for the center’s transformation into a profitable event center for the community.
Although both entities were able to settle their differences in July, efforts to have the property appraised were already in motion.
City and parish leaders had considered splitting up the property and have the city take over the Civic Center and the parish take over the adjacent park when negotiations had reached an impasse before the July agreement.
“I’m glad we did this,” Juror Melanie Bueche said after reviewing Loupe’s report. “Truthfully, both sides lose if we break this up. I think we just need to learn how to sort of work better together.”
In an unrelated item Tuesday, the jury elected its first black president in modern times: Juror Cornell Dukes was chosen by his fellow jurors without opposition.
Dukes’ selection comes two weeks after Bueche, who served as president for 20 years, thought she’d be able to hold onto the position for at least another six months after the jury was deadlocked between nominations to have Dukes or Juror Justin Cox serve as its new leader.
“My husband told me, you’re just like a temporary spare on a throwaway economy car,” Bueche quipped at the meeting. “Now that we have a president in place, hopefully, we can … get some work done.”
A jury president’s primary responsibilities include making committee appointments and presiding over jury meetings.
Cox said he met with Dukes following the Jan. 11 meeting and decided to back out of his campaign to serve as president in an effort to move the parish forward after years of public strife among jurors.
“Looking at the budget and the challenges we face, we’re gonna have to work diligently together,” Cox said. “I want us to start anew and put the best foot forward.”
Cox was later nominated to serve as vice president, but Juror Kyle Olinde defeated him in a 6-5 vote. Juror Gordon Taylor was absent at the time of the reorganization vote.
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.