Crowley Main St. program discussed at Rotary

By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY - Eleven years ago, at a very similar meeting, Crowley Main Street Program President Raynell Gilder described a vision for Crowley’s downtown.

Tuesday afternoon she stood alongside Crowley Main Street Manager Rita Johnson” at the Crowley Rotary Club meeting with that vision being a reality.

The Crowley Main Street Program was the point of discussion at the club’s weekly meeting.

Johnson gave a presentation showing what 11 years of hard work has turned into for downtown Crowley.

“Downtown’s the heart of the city, so it’s important that it continues to be given attention,” said Johnson.

Johnson, who is not originally from Crowley, says that the job she has taken on is a full-time job and she would not be doing it if her heart wasn’t in Crowley.

“My life is ‘Main Street’ from sun-up to sun-up, and my husband jokes that my first name should be ‘Main Street’ at this point,” she joked.

The project according to Johnson, Guilder and Crowley Main Street Program and club member Ezora Proctor is a “labor of love” and the program has taken not only commitment from its members but from the entire Crowley community.

“I want to thank all of you for all of your patience throughout the process,” said Guilder.

Johnson echoed the gratitude to the community for its patience. She says it was that patience that has the program a continuing success.

The program’s slogan, “Old town...New flair,” remains intact with a new logo showing what Crowley is known for and its history with rice, the Bank of Acadia building and a street lamp light very similar to those that now line North Parkerson Avenue in the Historical Downtown district.

Johnson showed how Main Street Façade Grants have helped the city’s downtown buildings return to their historical roots. In total, the city has received $70 thousand in MSFG money.

Johnson also explained that the latest work on Teacher’s Pet as well as the ongoing work on the Bank of Acadia building are not being done with grant money.

Earlier in the meeting, the club was treated to a special surprise for their vocational speaker. Club member M’elise Trahan read a speech that the late Travis Sandidge had prepared to give last year before he fell ill and passed away. New member and Travis Sandidge’s widow, Peggy, came across the speech and gave a copy of it to Trahan to read.

In the speech, Travis Sandidge talked about what brought him to where he was in his life, how he met his wife and how much he loved being a part of various community activities such as Rotary Club.

“My 22 years in Rotary have been rewarded and I look forward to many more,” Travis Sandidge wrote.

M’elise concluded with, “Unfortunately, Travis did not get many more years, but we are honored to have his wife, Peggy, as a member.”

The club gave a standing ovation to Peggy Sandidge following the speech.

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