Council delays decision on new Des Allemands boat launch
The St. Charles Parish Council postponed a decision on whether or not to seek a grant for a new boat launch in Des Allemands due to concerns over the 2012 budget. While the move doesn't kill the project, it does delay it for at least a year.
The proposed launch site is located on Mud Lake off WPA road. Landowners told the parish they would donate three acres of land for the project as long as the parish attains the necessary funding by next year.
There is already a public boat launch in Des Allemands under the Highway 90 bridge, but Councilman Paul Hogan said the area has been plagued with problems for years.
“It is dangerous because people have to back up across the roadway to get on the ramp and the front of their vehicles stick out into the street,” Hogan said. “It's also been a problem for the nearby homes ever since it was constructed. They have had to put up with noise at all times of the day and night, trash being left at the site, public urination and other issues.”
The total cost of building the first phase of the boat launch was estimated to be $962,000. That would include a crushed stone road to the property with parking, two double-down ramps and lighting. The parish had hoped to attain up to $721,287 for the project from the Wallop-Breaux fund, which is a state program used to create opportunity for sport fishing and boating.
That would leave the parish with a $240,429 bill.
Several council members were concerned about committing to the project before working through the 2012 budget. The application for the boat launch grant has an Oct. 1 deadline and the budget won't be completed by that time.
“How can I commit to this when we haven't even started talking about budget for next year?” said Councilman Dennis Nuss, who added that he knows a boat launch is badly needed on the West Bank. “We don't have a lot of money going into next year.”
Another hurdle to the project is that the parish must first figure out how to pay for repairs to two East Bank boat launches, a pier and Spillway Road, which were all damaged by the spillway's opening during the summer. Though the federal government will pay for 75 percent of the repairs, the parish will still have to pay around $590,000.
Even Hogan, who pushed hard for the Des Allemands launch, agreed that the East Bank boat launches should be repaired first because they are used by so many residents.
Parish President V.J. St. Pierre has tried to get a new boat launch constructed in St. Charles Parish for several years and budgeted $450,000 towards a new launch on Highway 90 last year. However, the Parish Council voted to move the money back into the parish's general fund and said that there needed to be a clear plan before moving forward.
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