WINNSBORO, La. (01/03/2020)– The Franklin Parish Police Jury wants to expand one of the top economic drivers in the parish.

“The road is kind of heavy to travel on, maybe if they fixed the road a little bit and tidy a few things around,” Matthew Chavez, a bronc rider, said. “I think a lot of people in the area will enjoy that.”

That’s exactly what the Franklin Parish Police is working on. Advancements include concession stands, bathrooms, bucking shutes, and a bonnet added to the current pavilion. They are working on the second phase of construction for the Activity Center.

“We’re going to fence in the entire place, 24 acres,” Rawhide Robinson, with the Franklin Parish Police Jury, said. “We’re going to redo the parking lot, and we’re going to have all new panels back here on the back.”

The gravel parking lot will be added along with an RV-accessible section.

“I think that’ll benefit a lot of people in the area, just for the fact of people can get in and more people can get out,” Matthew Chavez said.

For the last four years, the activity center has been used to host multiple events like festivals and rodeos. Macie Chavez says she uses the activity center to practice her craft, barrel racing. She says this expansion would help her better access the arena.

“I can get to the practice arena without getting stuck in the mud with the expansion and everything they are doing,” Macie Chavez said.

Locals also say the expansion will help Franklin Parish grow economically.

“By stopping by the Sullivan’s feed, by buying feed and hay and stuff like that, by being over here you always need something for your horse,” Macie Chavez, said.

Chavez says the extra space will also help kids be better prepared for competitions.

“It will make them feel more comfortable about getting into it because they will have somewhere to come practice to take their animals to get ready for a show, because that is a big thing,” Macie Chavez said. “Just being out in a pasture and then going to a show arena is very scary.”

The police jury is currently in phase two, which is taking bids for construction. The estimated cost for the expansion is 1.5 million dollars. Robinson says that will be covered through grants. However, right now, they do not have a deadline for when everything will be complete.