By Paige Nash
The Webster Parish Police Jury was recently awarded a Healthy Communities Grant by Keep Louisiana Beautiful. Keep Louisiana Beautiful is a non-profit organization founded in 2000 with the mission to stop littering in the state. Through beautification programs and partnerships, the organization is able to bring awareness to this issue and provide communities with the tools and resources to improve and preserve the state’s natural beauty.
This grant in the amount of $8,000 will be used to purchase a new litter trailer that will be used to support the WPPJ’s Litter Program. The Litter Program is a parish-wide initiative to reduce the amount of litter along parish roadways in an effort to keep our rural roadways, lakes and waterways free of litter.
Brian Williams, Webster Parish Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Director, is responsible for applying and securing this grant and is excited to assist in providing a way for the WPPJ to continue their Litter Program more efficiently.
“I am always looking for grants that will better our parish,” said Williams. “I discovered the Keep Louisiana Beautiful Grant in a monthly Louisiana Municipal Associate. When I found it, I checked with the Police Jury Secretary and Public Works Director to see if they thought we should apply for any of the allowable items, and both agreed it was time for a new litter trailer. I submitted an application in March 2022 and in July 2022 we were informed that 75 organizations had applied, and they narrowed it down to 21 grants. Out of the 21 grants considered, 12 were awarded and WPPJ was among them.”
The WPPJ partners with the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office to staff a parish-owned van and trailer to pick-up litter and debris along the roads. This partnership is paid for the funding that is allocated annually from within the WPPJ budget.
They are currently operating with a trailer that was converted into a trash trailer when the police jury originally began this program. It is over ten years old and has been experiencing continuous mechanical issues over the last few years, so the new trailer is very much needed.
“By receiving the new trailer our Public Works Department will be able to save on costly repairs they are currently having,” said Williams. “The litter program is important to our parish because no one likes to drive down a roadway lined with trash on their way to work or home. When people visit our parish their first impression needs to be a good one so that they return and also tell others about their positive experience.”
Our parish hosts many events throughout the year that bring in visitors across the state, including the Holiday Trail of Lights, Lumberjack Festival, Main to Main Trade Days, Scottish Tartan Festival, as well as numerous rodeos, parades and kayaking opportunities.