Community center, EOC, launch get the go-ahead from council

September 30, 2009 at 11:09 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

A community center, boat launch and a new emergency operations center all received the go-ahead from the Parish Council on Sept. 21, and most of the money for their eventual construction will come from grants.

The community center has been a highly sought after project for years and the building, which would cost around $4.3 million, would take two to three years to complete. A blueprint that the parish is considering would include a 25,000 square foot facility with a gym, offices, large meeting rooms, a concession stand, a kitchen, showers and restrooms. The building could also be constructed to withstand 150 mile per hour winds, and because it can hold 1,000 people, would come in handy as a temporary shelter after storms.

The parish has already been allocated a $4.8 million community development block grant for the project and the council voted to hire Hunt, Guillot and Associates of Ruston, at a cost of $320,000, to manage the grant and the construction. The application must now be approved by federal authorities to ensure that it serves low- to moderate-income families.

The center would be built on a piece of land on Sugarland Parkway donated by the Esperanza Land Co. and would allow the parish to house the Recreation Department, the Department of Community Services and RSVP in the building. The parish currently pays $21,000 a year to keep RSVP and the Recreation Department in leased offices.

Since the parish does not own a gym, and must use the ones located at the schools, the Recreation Department is sometimes faced with scheduling conflicts when it comes to youth sports. This building would alleviate that problem, as well as give the parish a place to hold important functions.

Highway 90 Boat Launch
To design the estimated $2  million boat launch in Luling between the Davis Pond Diversion and Pier 90, the Parish Council voted to hire Professional Engineering and Environmental Consultants of Westwego.

The parish does not yet own the land for the launch, but has gotten appraisals at three separate locations on Highway 90. Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said the parish could still design the launch because all three pieces of land have a similar size and shape.

As proposed, the launch would include five double-ended launch sites, parking for 160 trucks/boats, separate parking for cars, two pavilions, a stage, bait shop and three restrooms. The entire site would encompass 12 acres, and St. Pierre said he would eventually like to install three sand volleyball courts and have an area for the German Coast Farmers’ Market to set up shop.

Once the parish purchases the land, they can seek proposals from the Wallop-Breaux Fund, a state program used to create opportunity for sport fishing and boating.

Emergency Operations Center
The new emergency operations center has an estimated cost of $4.3 million and the council voted to hire the Duplantis Design Group to design the one-story building at a cost of $332,000.

The center would be an “ultra-survivable” facility capable of withstanding 200 mile per hour plus winds, according to EOC Director Scott Whelchel. Currently, the EOC is located in the basement of the courthouse, which Whelchel says is not an effective work area because of the inefficient space, flood proneness and inappropriate technology level.

Current plans have the new building at 13,000 square feet, and the parish already has $2.7 million set aside for the project. Katrina/Rita disaster recovery funding could be used for the remainder of the project.

The parish does not have a site picked out yet, but is examining several options.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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