Ascension Listens tour gives parish residents chance to 'sound off'

Michael Tortorich
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Ascension Parish Chief Administrative Officer John Diez and Planning and Facilities Director Ricky Compton represented parish government at the final stop of the Ascension Listens tour. The last event was at Lowery Middle School in Donaldsonville.

It was open-mic night across Ascension Parish over recent days.

The Ascension Listens tour went across the parish and wrapped up Aug. 3 with its last scheduled stop.

The event at Lowery Middle School in Donaldsonville concluded the slate, which included dates at Central Middle, Dutchtown Middle, Galvez Middle, and St. Amant High. Another date, which was not on the original schedule, was held at the Oak Grove Community Center in Prairieville.

Ahead of the events, flyers were mailed to parish residents. It featured a photo of Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment and advertised the meetings as a way for parish government administrators to listen and better understand the needs and concerns of the public.

As announced earlier Aug. 3 in a news release, Cointment had tested positive for COVID-19. He was not in attendance for the Ascension Listens tour stop in Donaldsonville. The event went on with Chief Administrative Officer John Diez as the host.

Microphones were set up at the events, and attendees were asked to bring questions and voice any concerns they had.

Communications Director Martin McConnell offered a welcome message at the beginning of the event.

Diez opened by touting the importance of early childhood development to get more of the west bank’s residents ready for the workforce as they reach adulthood.

He said the parish is in the process of signing a deal to use the Waguespack Center, which is owned by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Ricky Compton, the parish planning and facilities director, also addressed the crowd about possible recreation plans, including for the former National Guard building.

After the first four stops of the tour, a Parish of Ascension Facebook post declared each as "a resounding success."

"We've had great exchanges of information and ideas, and dozens of residents have taken advantage of their opportunity to 'sound off,'" the post stated.