Medical center expansion, sewer upgrade grant and more coming in 2013
New Plain Dealing Mayor Wiley Robinson has big plans for the north Bossier Parish town.
Sworn in on New Year's Eve, the new leader already has good news for its residents.
He — along with Administrator David Jones, clinic physician Dr. Nicole McCommon, and Nurse Practitioner Patricia Webb — announced Monday that the North Caddo Medical Center is adding a new wing to it's clinic in Plain Dealing.
“The town is very gracious that they're expanding our clinic. It will certainly keep the citizens from having to travel 30 miles to see a doctor,” said Robinson.
The 1,400 to 1,500 extra square footage will double the facility's current size, meeting resdients' needs and cutting down on time spent in the waiting room.
The new wing is expected be complete by May of this year.
“The clinic was overburdened and the amount of people needing treatment was too great,” said Robinson. “This will certainly help that.”
He also said NCMC is working with the town to find a dentist to place at their old facility on Highway 3.
“The North Caddo Medical Center is working really hard to find someone — full time, part time, emergency, doesn't matter,” said Robinson.
This new announcement is the first of what Robinson hopes will be many in the new year.
“We have a future here if we just develop it,” he said. “I'm looking forward to the growth.”
Voted to the office in the Nov. 6, 2012 election to replace longtime mayor Dale Barnette, Robinson decided to run two years ago. In that time, he said the town's citizens have been “good to me.”
“I'm very excited about the position, it's a rewarding position,” he said. “I like helping people and since I was elected, everyone has been gracious and I was humbled by the vote.”
His administration has spent its infancy working on economic development and writing grants.
He has met with the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation and North Louisiana Economic Partnership to try and determine incentives for attracting businesses to the town's industrial park.
“We need to improve our roads getting into the industrial facility or even something like a railroad spur,” said Robinson. “There's a road leading to the park, but there's some curves that need to be straightened out so big trucks can get in and out of there.”
He also said the town has secured a $426,000 Office of Community Development grant to upgrade the infrastructure of Plain Dealing's sewer plant. Work is expected to start in early spring.
“We want to keep upgrading our water system, we've (also) applied for SCEADA systems grant,” said Robinson.
He noted the town will continue to work with the Bossier Parish Police Jury for road overlaying and development. Robinson also expressed hopes of revitalizing the downtown area.
“Plain Dealing is in a unique situation — I-49 is only seven miles away and is at the crossroads of Highway 2 and Highway 3, so the opportunity is there,” he said.
As for whatever awaits in 2013, the new mayor knows he has a great staff and residents there to back him up. Robinson was effusive in his praise of town employees, including newly elected Town Marshal Ronnie Murry.
“I walked into a lucky situation,” he said.