I-20 Board Hammers Out Several Items at Meeting Thursday Night

I-20 Board Hammers Out Several Items at Meeting Thursday Night

The I-20 Economic Development Corporation hammered out several issues at their board meeting tonight.
MONROE -- The I-20 Economic Development Corporation hammered out several issues at their board meeting tonight.

The board said they are mostly finished in securing right-of-ways for the road project on the I-20 service road south, from Nutland Road to Lowes.

The Amethyst Construction firm and the board leveled out confusion over cracks forming in the curbs of the incomplete road that runs from the Sparks Nissan dealership to Millhaven Road near the Pecanland Mall.

Kim Golden expressed concern over entering the road, which has not experienced regular traffic, into the city's road system if there are cracks present in the curbs that cannot be explained.

The Amethyst Construction representative said the small cracks are normal in certain curb constructions, and is very expensive to prevent. The representative and the board further discussed a warranty extension on the road project.

This road cannot be tied to the state-owned Milhaven Road until further action is taken on certain issues, such as installing signals. Officials say completion of the road could take nine more months.

The board is also considering investing money on construction for an advanced technology center to at Louisiana Delta Community College. A LDCC representative made a presentation to the board at the meeting.

According to LDCC officials, the $8.2 million project will create commercial, employment and retail activity around the I-20 area. Officials say the total economic impact would equivilate to $60 million.

The 30,000 square foot technology center will provide job-seekers with technical skills and will have a training center for different employers to possible rent and hold equipment, a center that can be used as a spot for such training.

"[This building] should have been a part of the building originally, but it was not because they ran out of money and now they're trying to get a 12 percent match in order to continue to process and the progress on the I-20 district," said Otis Chisley, the I-20 board president.

LDCC would need the board to commit $600,000 to help match the 12 percent  needed to obtain state funding being offered to community colleges across the state. The deadline for LDCC to have a 12 percent match of funds is summer 2015.

Officials say this will create 350 construction jobs. The I-20 board could even have their offices in the complex, according to members.

"This is a huge opportunity and a good investment," said Mayor Jamie Mayo.

The board said they are tabling this item for now to further discuss and gather more information. Monroe Economic Development director Dwight Vines pointed out that the board still has three other project commitments where the confirmed cost is unknown.

The board also approved matching 10 percent -- about $121,000 -- for a Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) project that will install lights on three miles of Interstate 20 from Garrett Road heading east.
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