Revitalization plan is in motion for the area
With golden shovel in hand shining in the sunshine, Yvonne Byrd Gaspard joyfully broke ground for the first new construction in the Paul Maillard Road Revitalization Corridor.
“I’m taking excited to another level,” Gaspard said as she stood alongside parish officials to break ground for her new counseling center that’s been nearly five years in the making.
Foundation work is underway at the site for a 2,150-square-foot building for her business, YNG Counseling and Consulting, along with two office spaces available for lease.
At last Wednesday’s groundbreaking, Parish President Larry Cochran along with council members Terrell Wilson, Mary Clulee and Julia Fisher-Perrier joined the ceremony.
Wilson and Fisher-Perrier, who both served on the Revitalization Committee under then Parish President V.J. St. Pierre’s administration, participated in developing a plan to revitalize the Paul Maillard corridor, also known as LA 52 from Highway 18 to the railroad track just past Tinney Street.
“We (the council) are very excited about this venture,” Wilson said. “We hope this is the first of many developments to take advantage of incentives put in place when zoning regulations were created to encourage new development along the Paul Maillard corridor.”
Gaspard said she is using local contractors for the job, emphasizing the area’s economic growth that comes with new construction.
Brandt Dufrene, president and CEO of First National Bank USA, also had a shovel in his hands because his bank financed the nearly $300,000 project.
Gaspard also named numerous other vendors and contractors benefitting from the work.
Wilson pointed to boosting the area economically.
“Planning and Zoning, in their quest to encourage private and public partnerships to consider in the area in hopes of returning Paul Maillard Road back to what many elderly folks remember as being a highly concentrated area for business,” he said.
“We hope this is the first of many developments to take advantage of incentives put in place when zoning regulations were created to encourage new development along the Paul Maillard corridor.”- Councilman Terrell Wilson
Adopted in 2014, the plan outlines three zones for development in the corridor: Zone A begins from River Road ending at Post Street; Zone B begins at Hall Street near St. Charles Hospital to the Luling Volunteer Fire Department station, and Zone C begins at Blueberry Hill and ends at the railroad tracks approaching U.S. Highway 90.
In August of last year, parish officials announced Monsanto had become a partner in the revitalization.
Public Works Director Clayton “Snookie” Faucheux said a major upgrade was in the works with improved drainage, sidewalks, a multi-use path and park. Evans-Graves Engineers was awarded the first of three phases with the long-anticipated project. Estimated at $3.5 million, Phase I calls for redesigning the corridor, based on the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) “complete streets” approach.
By March, Monsanto’s Luling Plant Manager Enrique Wehlen and Cochran inked the agreement clearing the way for Luling’s Monsanto Linear Park. The company donated 11.6 acres of land and $450,000 to develop the park, and a walking and biking trail, at 1718 Paul Maillard Road.