LEESVILLE, LA--The State of Louisiana has provided the City of Leesville with more than $2.5 million in funding to provide sewer, water and lighting along Fort Polk's Entrance Road.
According to Fort Polk Progress Chairman Rick Allen, at Brigadier General Patrick Frank's request, the City of Leesville began to explore options to annex Entrance Road, the highway that serves as the only direct access route to the main gate entrance of Fort Polk. With Governor John Bell Edwards' promise of support, the City completed the annexation late in 2020. Louisiana Economic Development also applied for a Defense Community Infrastructure Program (DCIP) grant in an effort to secure funding for infrastructure improvements along Entrance Road.
"Although the application for a DCIP grant was unsuccessful, the City continued to move forward with seeking funding," said Allen, who also serves as the mayor of Leesville.
The Lake Charles American Press reported that Senator Michael Reese, R-Leesville, secured $500,000 in priority one capital outlay funds, with an additional $2 million, also in priority one, that will allow construction to begin this year.
“With the completion of this project, the City will be able to offer this vital municipal service to established businesses while also implementing standard city codes and ordinances to improve the appearance of the area. In addition, new businesses that may want to locate in close proximity to Fort Polk can do so without having to develop their own individual sewer treatment plant, if they are even able to obtain a permit,” said Reese.
Reese has also secured $4 million in priority five funding, which Allen said he hopes will be moved up in priority to allow for construction to be completed on the highway by next year.
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“Leesville’s annexation of Entrance Road, and the $2.5 million dollar capital outlay by the State of Louisiana is going to improve the quality of life for our Soldiers, Family members and civilian employees," said Colonel Ryan K. Roseberry, garrison commander of Fort Polk. "Entrance Road is one of the main thoroughfares leading to the installation. Improvements to water, the sewer system and lighting will have a beneficial impact on the Soldiers and Families that travel the road and use the businesses there. I think the next few years are going to be exciting as Entrance Road’s infrastructure is modernized.”
"The Fort Polk Progress Board and I have no doubt that the future of Fort Polk Entrance road is bright," said Allen. "We have already seen massive changes in property appearance since the City of Leesville has put zoning ordinances in place and assisted businesses, and we are absolutely sure Fort Polk Entrance Road will become the economic corridor it should have always been with new restaurants and shopping that is easily accessible to our military families."
The anticipated completion date for the project is midsummer, 2023, said Allen.
Fort Polk Progress is a regional organization focused on coordinating the efforts of the local communities, the State of Louisiana and the Louisiana Congressional delegation on supporting the Army, the mission at Fort Polk, and the quality of life for soldiers and families stationed in Louisiana.