Council sets aside money for West Bank launch
For the past four years, St. Pierre has been trying to secure land for a 13-acre boat launch on Highway 90 that would have enough bells and whistles to one day attract the Bassmaster Classic. St. Pierre envisioned the launch to include five double-ended launch sites, parking for 160 trucks/boats, a separate parking area for cars, two pavilions, a stage, bait shop and three restrooms.
However, the parish has had trouble securing such a site due to the high cost associated with purchasing property in the area.
With plans for a Highway 90 launch stalled, attention turned to a 3.1 acre site in Des Allemands. The land has been donated by Riverbend Corp. as long as the parish attains the necessary funding for the $1.3 million launch by April. The proposed launch site is located on Mud Lake off WPA road.
Parish Councilman Paul Hogan said that $260,000, combined with a $750,000 grant from the Wallop-Breaux fund, would be enough to finance the first phase of the launch. The first phase would include a crushed stone road to the property with parking, two double-down ramps and lighting.
"I think that the Des Allemands boat launch is more reachable than Highway 90," St. Pierre said.
But some council members wanted to instead budget money for a "West Bank boat launch" in case anything changes in the future. Parish Grants Officer Holly Fonseca said that a grant application for Wallop-Breaux funding does not have to be sent until October and that something could change with the Highway 90 launch between now and then.
By budgeting for a "West Bank boat launch," Fonseca said the parish could apply for funding for whichever launch site seems more feasible at the time.
The discussion on the boat launch funding drew the most lively debate as the parish approved a $127 million budget on Monday.
Included in that budget is $19 million for the West Bank hurricane protection levee. The parish also took $2 million originally set aside for the renovation of the third floor of the courthouse and put it towards construction of a community center and a new Emergency Operations Center.
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