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Council opposes expansion of airport

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 19, 1998

HAHNVILLE – Development of the New Orleans International Airport ran into a stone wall of opposition with the St. Charles Parish Council, whichapproved an eight-month construction moratorium Monday night.

The Parish Council, in the ordinance, declared future development of the airport into St. Charles Parish “has the potential to be detrimental andnegatively impact the public health, welfare, safety and well-being of the citizens of St. Charles Parish, particularly, residents of St. Rose,Destrehan, Ama and Luling.”Parish Councilmen Curtis Johnson Sr. and Ron Phillips co-sponsored theordinance, and Johnson said development of James Business Park has already met opposition from the airport. Plans for more construction onthe north end of the park has met with opposition from the New Orleans Aviation Board.

Parish President Chris Tregre said the Aviation Board was acting as though the proposed north-south runway were already in place. Thatproject, seen as the only avenue of future development of the airport, has been under development for years.

“The airport don’t run St. Charles Parish! We run St. Charles Parish!”Johnson declared.

Similarly, a resolution approved later in the meeting asks the Federal Aviation Administration, in its development of an environmental impact statement for the proposed runway, for development of a new regional airport located elsewhere to be an alternative under consideration.

That resolution was sponsored by Johnson, who has served on the Louisiana Airport Authority board, which for years has reviewed proposals for establishing a new regional airport away from the greater New Orleans area.

In other activity, the Parish Council honored the 1998 13-year-old Dixie Boys World Series champions, presenting each player and coach with a plaque of appreciation for bringing honor and recognition to St. CharlesParish.

Also, parish councilmen agreed to purchase three antique cypress boats hand built more than 100 years ago from native cypress logs by ancestors of the Dufrene family.

Parish Councilman Terry Authement hopes to establish a historical display and museum at the old American Legion Hall in Des Allemands. The hallitself has historic significance, having been the old Comardelle Village schoolhouse in the early years of the 20th century.

The Parish Council also approved a $9,000 donation from Shell Norco for a community alert telephone system by First Call Inc.

Emergency Operations Director Tab Troxler told the Parish Council the system could simultaneously make 212 phone calls in an emergency situation.

Also, Stanford Caillouet of New Sarpy agreed with Council Chairman G “Ram” Ramchandran over the planned construction of an access bridge at Linwood Drive in Ormond.

Caillouet commented the site was served first by a bridge. However, withcollapse of the Dunleith Canal bank, the bridge was replaced in the early 1990s by two large box culverts.

Now, with further bank erosion problems, the plan is to install a new bridge, along with sheet piling to stabilize the canal bank.

“I have to agree with Stanford 100 percent,” Ramchandran said. “We’vecome full circle.”Finally, an ordinance offered by Phillips to rescind the earlier ordinance to finance the purchase of the land adjacent to the West Bridge Park was removed from consideration.

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