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Monroe business owner says poor infrastructure/constant flooding is affecting his business

Ronnie Marsh of Pulpmill Services says prospective customers go elsewhere after seeing conditions on Fontana Road.
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 10:10 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - One local business owner says poor road conditions and constant flooding is affecting his business.

“When we got to talking to them about adding new products here, they shy away from this area due to the political situation here and the lack of progress,” explained Ronnie Marsh, President of Pulpmill Services on Fontana Road in Monroe.

“When they’re here, we get one of our Louisiana rains,” explained Marsh. “We can’t get from one shop to another because our drainage ditches are plugged up. The water has nowhere to grow.”

Marsh says prospective customers take their business elsewhere. Ouachita Parish Engineer Kevin Crosby says the problem is while Fontana is a parish road, it also falls in the I-20 Economic Development District just outside Monroe city limits.

“I think it would be good for all three because one might say, I think they’re doing it, and then it ends up not getting done,” Crosby told the Ouachita Parish Police Jury on May 16. “I think Fontana is one of those that falls in the crack.”

Crosby adds the I-20 Board has one project to improve drainage already underway. However, the parish needs funds for an $8 million project to alleviate the problem completely.

Marsh says if the money comes soon, jobs could follow.

“We could have at least created another 40,” Marsh told KNOE. “We have had other opportunities that we have talked to people about coming herewith. The problem is when they come here. They see what’s going on here. They see the infrastructure problems. They’re from places like New York, Atlanta, and Vancouver. They don’t have these issues.”

Police Jury President Shane Smiley says the drainage problem would need to be fixed before repairing the road.

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