The Port Allen City Council unanimously approved a motion to open a $20,000 expense account for parks and recreation at the Wednesday, Aug. 8 meeting. Founders of the West Side Bulldogs asked the council to consider providing funding to the department for training equipment on a case-by-case basis for the benefit of the community, and the Bulldogs.
All equipment and uniforms purchased will be the property of the city and available for use by the Bulldogs and schools in Port Allen. Each individual or group must submit a request before the council for approval. Equipment like tackling dummies and sleds would be kept at Port Allen Middle School.
The Westside Bulldogs program has been a part of Port Allen for a little over a decade, but recent years have been a struggle, the founders told the council. For the first time in its 11 years, the Westside Bulldogs football and cheerleading program did not register enough players for teams in any of the four age groups. The program needed to recruit between 60 and 80 more participants to field teams.
Despite a down year, the council approved funding for equipment as it will serve as a benefit for schools and programs within the parks and recreation department. The Westside Bulldogs don’t plan to let this year get in the way of building and continuing the program, vowing that they will be back.
Securing the funding for equipment will allow the Bulldogs to spend money earned through fundraisers and fees on field trips and travel expenses for tournaments, co-founder Pierre Washington told the council.
“We want them to get the experience of leaving out of Port Allen, seeing the world, seeing different things and if that means we have to do it through this football program that’s what we do,” Washington said.
The organization does not just teach the foundations of football and cheerleading, it’s a mentoring program, two of the co-founders Washington and Sean Brown explained. Coaches often visit students in schools and help keep them on track.
“Wherever they are, we are,” Washington said.