Residents air concerns about proposed airport

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 23, 2002


LAPLACE – The Louisiana Airport Authority heard proposals this week for selection of the commission’s bond counsel. A selection will be announced at the next meeting scheduled for Nov. 21.

The candidates include area law firms Jones Walker, McGlinchey Stafford and Foley & Judell.

Project manager Win Beyea reported on a series of five public information workshops held recently in the area of the primary proposed site – a 25,300-acre site straddling Iberville (45 percent), Ascension (54 percent) and Assumption (1 percent) parishes. This site is between Donaldsonville and White Castle, and between the river and Belle Rose.

“We’re cognizant of the concerns and will continue to work with them,” chairman Glen Smith said. “I expect we’ll have to do some unpleasant things.”

Among those concerned are Assumption Parish Police Juror Henry Dupre of Belle Rose, who said last month he was opposed to the plan, pending much more information.

At this week’s meeting, area resident Scott Falcon, commented, “We think our land is being stolen from us,” and added the project, as contemplated, “will destroy Donaldsonville as a residential area.”

The public information period will continue through August 2003.

Meanwhile, a financial plan will be developed, selection of a master developer, environmental analysis, road and rail study and intermodal study are all contemplated through 2003, with an environmental impact study due to start in August 2003 and be completed by December 2004.

Smith added, “We must remain focused on moving forward,” and said competing plans are underfoot for a smaller facility in Mississippi.

He continued, discussing foreign investment in the facility by noting it is illegal for foreign companies to own airport facilities in the United States, but foreign investment is welcome.

In Louisiana alone, France has $1.6 billion of investments.

“It’s simply the future of our state,” Smith explained.