Wise slow on comment

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 11, 2002

By Allen J. St. Pierre
Councilman, District Two,

DEAR EDITOR: After reading the Jan. 5 L’Observateur, I feel the need to respond to the remarks made by Russ Wise.

First of all, why did it take Mr. Wise four years to make an issue out of the library being constructed on Highway 51? The decision of the Library Board and the Parish Council to have this new library constructed was never a deep, dark secret. The matter was discussed at public meetings of the Library Board and council, and everyone had an opportunity to express his or her opinions. Mr. Wise chose not to make his issues known at those meetings. Again, I ask, why now?

The different other sectiions of this parish have had to wait for years to have their branch library. Some were fortunate enough to have very nice, new buildings for their communities, nothing close to what is being constructed for the residents of LaPlace.

We in Garyville do not have the luxury of a new buidling for a library. We make do with the facility we have, but at least hopefully we have something to refer to as a library. Hopefully, that will change soon.

When I tour the parish and see so many schools boarded up, I wonder why? Children who once walked to nearby schools now have to “have someone bring them,” be it a school bus or parents. So, now, with a big, beautiful library soon to open in LaPlace, the children will have to rely on someone to drive them there, but they will have more than what the other branch libraries will ever have. So what is the big problem with parents driving their children to the library? Parents in Mt. Airy and Garyville drive their children to our library.

A handful of parents and one LaPlace school principal, in my opinion, do not warrant this kind of controversy, Mr. Wise.

The Parish Council and the Library Board, in their wisdom, made their decisions for a new library for the betterment of the people in LaPlace. The Parish Council at that time also saw the need to use the old library for much-needed office space for the council and other public entities.

For approximately two months, I have been contacting landowners in the Garyville/Mt. Airy area to purchase land that will accommodate a new library for the residents of Garyville and Mt. Airy. Two other areas are being looked at. The new $2.7 million library in LaPlace has just about absorbed the 10-mill tax used for libraries. Mr. DeSoto stated the library funds couldn’t afford a new library in the Garyville/Mt. Airy area, but as soon as funds are available, a new library for this area will be built.

The people of Garyville and Mt. Airy are taxpayers who also pay 10 mills to the Library Board as the rest of the people in this parish do. We want and will get our new library building!

I would also like to commend School Board Member Felix LeBouef on his remarks, “This was an issue in parish council business” and he did not want to be involved in council business. Further, I commend the members who voted against Mr. Wise’s motion.

How much will the School Board contribute to Mr. Wise’s suggestion of having a section of the old library to be used as a children’s library? The Library Board does not have the money for this purpose. If the School Board picks up the tab for what Mr. Wise is proposing, then I suggest Mr. Wise to appear before the Library Board and Parish Council with check in hand.