Calling it a “big win” for the Paul Maillard Road revitalization project, St. Charles Parish has gotten a $10 million commitment in federal funding.
The St. Charles Parish Council unanimously approved the agreement with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) for the first phase outlined of the Paul Maillard Road (LA 52) Corridor Revitalization Plan.
“I have been working with the DOTD and RPC around three years on this project so tonight is a really big deal for me and I’m sure for a whole lot of others who are behind this project, as well,” Grants Officer Carla Chiasson told the council at the June 17 meeting.
This is the first of three funding contracts for the project, Chiasson said.
Phase 1 is a $3.8 million agreement for lighting and sidewalks. The cost is covered by an 80-20 matching federal grant with the parish providing 20 percent, Chiasson said.
Reconstruction of the corridor will begin with a complete street cross section with installation of subsurface drainage, sidewalk, a multi-use path, lighting and roadway improvements in Luling and Boutte.
Work will extend from Blueberry Hill to Angus Drive.
“I have been working with the DOTD and RPC around three years on this project so tonight is a really big deal for me.” — Carla Chiasson
The DOTD budgeted work to begin on the first phase in 2022 with Phase 2 work in 2023, and the final phase in 2025.
Reanda Fields Pierre, chair of the Paul Maillard Community Development Corp., said they’ve started meeting with the business owners along the corridor and “This is definitely the driving force we need to build momentum.”
Council Chairwoman Julia Fisher-Perrier, a member of the revitalization committee when it first started, said many ideas were considered for the project, but sidewalks were the top priority.
“I personally witnessed a very small child get hit by a car almost two decades ago on the shoulder of Paul Maillard,” Fisher-Perrier said. “The residents of the area deserve these sidewalks and I’m so happy it is finally happening.”
In August of 2017, Bayer (then Monsanto) became a partner and driving force in the project. The company donated land for the park along Paul Maillard Road and up to $450,000 for project work.
The revitalization timeline
- December 2014: The revitalization plan, started in 2013 through a HUD Challenge grant, was adopted.
- March 2018 – Monsanto inked the agreement to donate 11.6 acres of land and $450,000 to the community for a future park at 1718 Paul Maillard Road. The parish awarded a $9.2 million contract for long-awaited road and drainage upgrades, as well as a public spaces redevelopment phase in the corridor.
- August 2017: Monsanto becomes a partner in moving the revitalization.
- October 2018: Councilwoman Mary Clulee gets council approval to set aside $150,000 for a community center as part of thes project