By Lyra Bordelon
After the cancellation of the Nov. 9 meeting of the Rainelle Town Council due to a COVID-19 case that shut down Town Hall, the council gathered on Monday, Nov. 23, to discuss the future of the Rainelle Visitor’s Center, an upcoming planning commission meeting, and more.
The future of the Rainelle Visitor’s Center is currently on an uncertain trajectory. According to Councilmember Danny Milan, the currently planned location could not be the right move for the town.
“It’s in the high risk flood area,” Milan explained.”You could raise it, but that costs. … I know we’re late in the game for this but we need to make sure we’re going to do everything the right way if we’re going to proceed with this building.”
Milan also explained that a significant amount of funds for the project were raised by former mayor Andy Pendleton. Currently, about $180,000 is in an account for the project, which is expected to cover the cost of materials. In addition to the increased cost of materials from this time last year due to COVID-19, the labor could also prove to be an issue. Without volunteers to work, the project could cost as much as another $360,000, totalling over $550,000.
“I’d like to see this go forward and really see something good for the town. I’ve also heard different stories about taking one of the old buildings in town and using [or remodeling] that for this purpose. I don’t think … that’s a very good idea because nine chances out of 10, the buildings we have here in town are the type of building that’s falling down and needs so much repair that it costs as much [just to build a new building].”
No action was taken on the visitor’s center. Milan will continue looking for more information on other potential properties for the center for consideration at the next meeting.
Councilmembers encouraged the public to attend a meeting of the Planning Commission on Thursday, Dec. 3, at Town Hall.
“There’s a lot of things we’re going to be working on and we need a lot of people to help us,” Milan said. “It could mean a big change for the town of Rainelle. A lot of good things that can happen which are only going to happen if we make them happen. This next meeting we’re going to get the organization set up a little better and try to set things up for the different committee members we’re going to have.”
Milan also noted that the meeting could be moved to another location if enough people arrive.
“We’ve had all kinds of people complaining about nothing happening in the town Rainelle,” Milan said. “Now’s your chance, we can make things happen. … It’s gonna be up to the people of the town to make it happen. You will see we’re already doing a lot. … What you guys want, are you gonna come out and make things happen? … We will fit as many of you in here as we can and what we can, if we’ve got to move to another building, we’ll try to find that.”
In other business:
• After the town’s previous website was discovered to not work correctly due to lack of payment resulting from the change in administration in 2019, council agreed to move forward with a new website layout.
• An executive session about employees was held, with Acting Mayor Bill Bell explaining “nothing negative” was involved.
• Both new lights and new potted plant hangers were approved by the council, expected to be hung in town soon.