BAKER, LA (WAFB) - By the year 2020, the mayor of Baker hopes to repave the majority of streets plaguing the city.
"Our citizens deserve better than that," said Mayor Darnell Waites. "They pay the road tax to maintain the roads and that's what we use the money for," he said.
Mayor Waites says just last year, he noticed a few roads on the decline, so he went to work. "I had the engineer go out and look at the streets that haven't been done in the last ten years," he said. "You could actually look and tell they hadn't been done in a while."
The mayor says five roads were fixed last year. Now with the input of city council members and about $1.2 million from the road tax, over a dozen city roads like Groom Road, Epperson Street, and Chapeau Drive are being prioritized for upgrades. "We're going to get them all done, down to the last penny," the mayor said. "Then we'll wait for the money to build up again and we'll get a new list and start again."
Waites says they're trying to be proactive and keep the streets from reaching any further ruin, hopefully improving quality of life. "Highway 19, that's my living room. Plank Road, that's my bathroom. We keep that looking good all the time," Waites said.
"Good water is infrastructure. More jobs are infrastructure," said District 2 Councilwoman Doris Alexander. "Infrastructure done correctly is going to be icing on the cake."
She says concerned citizens like Gloria Johnson, who've called Baker home since 1973, are ready to see improvements. "We see what people have been able to do when they come together and put their minds together. Great things can be done and Baker is no different," Johnson said.
City leaders say work will start by May or June. Until then, they're asking for patience from residents. "If they need to be done, we're going to get them done," Waites said.
The mayor says the bidding process for the project will begin after Easter.