Hymel assures no airport decisions made

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2000

L’Observateur / August 30, 2000

CONVENT – St. James Parish President Dale Hymel said Monday thatdiscussion of a possible new regional cargo airport to be located in the River Parishes is just beginning and no decisions will be made for a number of years. He also stated that St. James Parish is only one of 12parishes that will be studied as possible sites.

Hymel, who serves as vice-chairman of the Louisiana Airport Authority, indicated that a plan promoted by St. Charles Parish Councilman Ganesier”Ram” Ramchandran is not valid.

That plan puts the airport on the east bank of St. James Parish nearConvent.

Ramchandran’s plan would hurt St. James Parish by moving a number ofpeople from their homes, said Hymel. Long standing structures valuablefor their historic value and contributions to the community, like the Manresa Retreat House, St. Michael’s Church and the courthouse would bein danger of being destroyed.

“While I understand the need for a regional cargo airport, any plan coming of the studies which are about to begin must protect St. James Parish’srich heritage and leave our homes as they are now,” he said.

After laying dormant for the last few years, the idea for the regional airport is again rising. The Federal Aviation Administration and Congresshave begun to take an active interest in studying the feasibility and possible location in the past year. This interest has developed after majoropposition arose to attempts to expand the Moisant International Airport in New Orleans.

“A regional cargo airport in the River Parishes will bring many new job opportunities for St. James which has a high unemployment rate, nomatter which parish is chosen,” said Hymel. Foremost, Hymel stressesthat those jobs should not be at the expense of St. James Parish citizens,their homes or history.

As vice chairman on the LAA and with the opening of a River Parish office to conduct risk assessment, location studies and other phases of the federal research, Hymel assures that St. James will receive a “seat at thetable,” allowing the parish to have a say in the proposed facility as it develops.

Hymel stated that the citizens of st. James Parish will be informed aboutthe progress of the studies as information becomes available and involved as numerous public hearing will be held on each phase of the studies.

Return To News Stories