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Council Oks transfer of funds for land

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 5, 1998

HAHNVILLE – The St. Charles Parish Council, flip-flopped again and agreedin a split vote to transfer funds from the General Fund to buy land adjacent to the West Bridge Park in Luling.

At the Parish Council’s July 6 meeting, councilmen voted 4-4 to not make the money available to buy a 14.4-acre tract from Fifth Circuit Court ofAppeals Judge Edward Dufresne Jr., as agreed to in a 5-4 vote at the June15 meeting.

The missing man at the July 6 meeting, Councilman Barry Minnich, attended Monday’s meeting to swing the vote back.

Voting against the purchase were Councilmen Brian Champagne, G. “Ram”Ramchandran, Terry Authement and Ron Phillips.

Phillips wasted no time in introducing an ordinance for consideration at the Aug. 17 meeting to rescind the fund transfer.”Ya’ll burned the roux; start over again,” advised Thelma Schexnayder of Destrehan from the audience.

Later in the meeting Schexnayder declared to the Parish Council: “You just made the most lopsided land deal since Peter Minuet bought Manhatten from the Indians!” She continued, “You made a bad mistake when you voted to buy it; you made a worse mistake when you voted to fund it.”Phillips said the land buy “doesn’t advance the recreation department” and pointed out several shortcomings of the department, including its lack of attention to girls sports.

Also, he pointed out the council had heard no master plan for developing the property until Recreation Director Rusty Rebowe presented drawings at the June 15 meeting where the purchase deal was approved.

Champagne said he opposed it, as he heard of no support among his constituents. Authement added there is no reason to buy this piece ofproperty at this time. Ramchandran simply asserted the purchase price of$842,000 is too high.

Parish President Chris Tregre was absent from Monday’s meeting.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Courtney Ann Tatman of Destrehan, recently crowned Miss Teen Louisiana, was recognized by the Parish Council.

The Parish Council also agreed to construct a sidewalk along the south side of Paul Maillard Road from one set of railroad tracks in Luling to the tracks in Boutte, approximately 10,000 feet in total length and one meter in width.

Paul Maillard Road, which connects River Road with U.S. Highway 90 fromLuling to Boutte, was first constructed in 1866 by the St. Charles ParishPolice Jury, a construction project authorized by the state Legislature.

Total construction price was $3,685, according to contemporary newspaper accounts.

Estimated cost of the sidewalk construction is $230,000.

In other matters, the Parish Council agreed to open negotiations for the purchase of the old American Legion 316 Hall in Des Allemands, next to the Legion baseball field.

The central portion of the old Legion Hall was originally the schoolhouse in Comardelle Village on the edge of Lake Salvadore in the 1920s. Theschoolhouse was later moved by barge to its present site and served as the original Allemands Elementary School.

The property on which the building rests is owned by Texaco, which has agreed to transfer the lease. Purchase price is estimated at $15,000.Also the Parish Council voted to outlaw the sale of alcoholic beverages as part of a home occupation activity.

The matter came up, according to Parish Councilman Dickie Duhe, when a gift shop operated on a home occupation permit began including wine with the baskets, contrary to state and local law.

The practice was discontinued, Duhe said. “It was an honest mistake,” hecommented.

Finally, the Parish Council voted against installing a three-way stop sign at the intersection of Matherne Drive and First Street in Smith’s Green Acres Subdivision, Bayou Gauche.

Authement said local citizens had requested it, but Parish Councilman Bill Sirmon said the ordinance was confusing and the matter needed more study. Only Duhe and Champagne joined Authement in support of thematter.

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