Steps taken to armor courthouse
By Renee Simpson
A Federal Emergency Management Agency grant in the amount of $258,883 will fund the installation of impact-resistant glass windows at the St. Charles Parish courthouse, ensuring the building’s strength in the face of severe storms and hurricanes.
The hazard mitigation grant will replace windows on the eastern, southern and western sides of the building and add impact-resistant glass doors to all four corner entrances.
The project is the latest in a handful of steps the parish has taken to armor the courthouse. This latest project will complete the hardening of the building against wind and wind-driven rain and debris. The courthouse is a critical facility with regard to emergency response as it houses first responders, the St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center and parish government offices.
“The courthouse is such an important part of our emergency response, not only because it serves as a base of operations, but also because it’s a symbol of our strength in the face of any disaster,” St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said. “The better we can protect our first responders, the better they will be able to protect life and property.”
Following damage to the courthouse during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the parish upgraded windows on the northern side of the building and installed a new roof through the FEMA Public Assistance Program.
In late 2009, the parish installed a 1,250-kilowatt generator to power the entire courthouse during power outages caused by hurricanes or other disasters. A FEMA grant in the amount of $358,000 supplemented funding for the nearly $1 million project.
St. Charles Parish was allocated a total of $883,375 in hazard mitigation grant program funding following Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.
The courthouse window retrofit is the first of two project applications submitted for FEMA approval this round. The remaining application is for drainage improvements in the Mimosa Park area of Luling. It is currently under review.
New pump going in at East Harding
Public Works crews on Thursday began driving 20-foot sheet piling near the intersection of East Harding Street and Airline Highway in New Sarpy to make room for a new pump installation.
The area between the highway and the railroad tracks is prone to heavy flooding during rain events. The new pump will help alleviate roadway flooding problems in the area. After the sheet piling was installed, crews, lifted a 15,000-pound concrete box into the fortified pit to act as the pump’s catch basin.
Work in the area is ongoing.
Parish adds additional recycling location
Due to heavy usage at the Lakewood Elementary recycling bin, the parish has added an additional bin on the left side of the Professional Learning Center in Luling (site of the old K-Mart).
For more information about accepted materials or for a list of locations, log on to stcharlesparish-la.gov.
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