The St. Charles Parish Department of Planning and Zoning has identified four areas of Luling that may be eligible for redevelopment grants under the Paul Maillard revitalization program.
Planning and Zoning has spearheaded an aggressive redesign plan of Paul Maillard Road after receiving more than $600,000 in grants to study redevelopment of the area, which used to be a thriving shopping district.
Of the four sites identified by the parish, two are on private property, including the Winwood Shopping Center and a piece of land on Angus Drive owned by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. It would be up the property owners to pursue any development.
The site that appears to be most ripe for change is located just north of the railroad tracks in the Luling Avenue area. That area features a concentration of historic storefronts housing a number of merchants as well as restaurants and connected residential units that could, if given a proper makeover, stimulate more foot traffic in the area and increased economic activity.
“We think it is great place for a traditional main street,” Marny Stein, a development review planner with Planning and Zoning, said.
Stein said the department has also identified a need for upgraded housing.
“Different types of housing depending on what would fit in the area it is in, including higher-quality housing, housing that is safe and convenient,” she said.
However, the parish has faced one big problem in realizing the revitalization program. Although most traffic that used to travel through the area now uses other roadways, Paul Maillard Road has remained as part of the state highway system, meaning the parish is not able to make any changes to the roadway.
Stein said the parish approached the Louisiana Department of Transportation about donating the road to the local authority, but as of yet have been unable to come to an agreement.
That would seem to stall plans for upgraded roads that were high on the list of changes area residents said they would like to see as part of the revitalization program.
“The whole point is for us to get a much better road with sidewalks and hopefully covered drainage. That is a big, big project,” Stein said.