Deal Appears To Be Near On Coliseum Parking Lot

ALEXANDRIA, LA (AP) — A long-awaited deal that would clear the way for Rapides Parish Coliseum renovations to begin appears to be close to fruition.

         Rapides Parish Police Jury President Richard Billings told The Town Talk’s Richard Sharkey a proposed agreement between the police jury and the city of Alexandria over jointly owned property needed for Coliseum parking could be finalized as early as today.

         A special Police Jury meeting has been called for 4:00 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the Police Jury's lawsuit against the city of Alexandria. The jury sued the city over the parking lot dispute, which parish officials say has delayed the start of the $23 million Coliseum renovation project.

         "I'm praying that this issue can be solved, and we can get our P's and Q's together and go ahead and start the project and get it done," Billings said of the $23 million Coliseum renovation.

         The Police Jury canceled a special meeting that had been set for last Thursday morning on a proposed intergovernmental agreement with the city of Alexandria on the parking lot issue.

         The meeting cancellation occurred because wording of the agreement was still being worked on.

         If the process goes smoothly, an approval of the agreement could be considered by the Alexandria City Council at its next regular meeting.

         City Council President Chuck Fowler said the city looks forward to getting a deal done.

         The City Council passed an ordinance in November to enter an intergovernmental agreement with the Police Jury so that it could be ready if and when a deal was worked out.

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