Good news for Ama, no news for Willowdale

Corps says alignment won’t include Willowridge-Mimosa Park area

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers brought good news to St. Charles Parish residents that feared the West Bank Vicinity and Beyond levee protection project would force them from their homes.

The Corps picked an alignment that wouldn’t interfere with homeowners near Pier 90 on Highway 90. However, while the levee will protect Ama, it will offer no protection to residents in the Willowridge-Mimosa Park area.

But Councilman-at-large Terry Authement cautions the residents to wait patiently.
“They’re still a few hurdles to climb,” he said. “I think it’s good news for them (residents near Pier 90), but no one is out of the woods yet.”

According to Corps Project Manager Mike Stack, Alignment 3 has the least amount of impact on residents inside the parish, but could interfere with the Davis Pond Diversion.
“We have to consider the affects on the Diversion as well as the impact on the wetlands,” he said at a Corps meeting.
Authement explained that the decision to move forward with this levee project would be good for residents living in Ama.

“They’ll have protection from flooding,” he said. “But this won’t impact Willowdale-Mimosa Park residents at all.”
Corps Senior Project Manager Al Naomi says that the West Bank Vicinity Project will neither hurt nor help Willowdale residents.

“The only thing that will keep them from flooding is the Donaldsonville to the Gulf Hurricane Levee Protection Project or the levee project the parish is trying to build themselves,” Authement said. “In other words, this alignment won’t change anything for them.”

Authement said the Corps has made their recommendations now and the next step is to hold public meetings to see what the residents think.
“I’m certain they looked at several criteria before deciding either way,” he said. “I think anybody in the Ama area would be happy.”

So far, Authement said he’s received no complaints from anyone concerning the Corps’ decision to pick the third alignment.
“As far as the Donaldsonville to the Gulf project, we’re still waiting on an alignment to be picked,” Authement said. “It could be somewhere around the Spring of 2009, but that date is not set in stone.”

Frank and Regina Matherne, whose lakefront property on Highway 90 was at the center of Alignment 2, were pleased to get the news that they can stay put for the time being.
If Alignment 2 had been chosen by the Corps, the Mathernes and at least eight other residents, along with West Bank boat launch Pier 90, would have been forced to relocate.


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