Foster archives funding secured by Allain, Jones
Rep. Sam Jones and Sen. Bret Allain brought news of substantial state funding to the Franklin City Council Tuesday.
Allain told the council he was called to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office during budget considerations, and Jindal expressed an interest in finding a location in western St. Mary Parish to “preserve the archives of his predecessor, Mike Foster, and his grandfather, and really all the governors that hail from St. Mary Parish. He asked me what I thought would be a good site, where they could build it and all that.”
Allain recalled Jones had touted earlier that the third floor of the former E.A. Crowell Elementary School, now city hall, would be an ideal location for an archive. “The governor was skeptical at first,” Allain said. “But you will see in the capital outlay bill that Franklin was not in there before… if the application was not made before it never gets in. Unless you’re the governor.”
Jindal placed $1.825 million in the budget at a high priority status. That money will cover the third floor and any entrances.
Allain said the governor put certain safeguards on the funding. “He wanted a committee to review plans to come back to the council for final approval.” That committee would include Gov. Foster or a designee of the Foster family; a member of the state museum board; a member of the Governor’s Foundation; a designee from Jones and Allain, and a city council appointment.
“We’ve got to do this to be a cash item before he leaves office,” Allain said. “Once he gets this in place and we’ve got the showcase on the third floor it’s going to be very easy for Sam and I to go to this governor and the next governor to find money to shore up the rest of this building… (Jindal) told me soon as the committee is in place he’ll turn it into a line of credit to do all the architectural and engineering … and then when that was over he would fund the rest of the money.”
Funding was also obtained for signage for tourists in the city, he said.
“I can live with those terms,” Mayor Raymond Harris said. “We’re not going to drag our feet on this.”
Jones also reported that efforts were successful to help Young Memorial Campus of South Central La. Technical College reopen its welding school and certain other adjunct services at the Franklin site in the near future. “We lost that a couple years ago,” he said.
The council also:
—Added St. Charles Street to the 2013 street overlay list.
—Introduced ordnances declaring surplus property and authorized a lease of property owned by the city.
—Supported correspondence by Mayor Harris in working with Jones Walker Consulting LLC and a client called “Project Keystone” that is interested in locating on the Charenton Navigation and Drainage Canal.
—Approved a resolution in support of a grant application for the city’s Bayou Beaux Arts and Dance Program through the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation.