Highlights from Tuesday’s St. John Council meeting

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009



LAPLACE – The St. John Parish Council on Tuesday unanimously approved three measures to help alleviate longstanding flooding problems throughout the parish.

The council authorized the parish to begin about $5 million worth of work to correct drainage issues in LaPlace – around the Old Riverlands and Balsam Street areas – and Reserve around St. Peter’s School. Funding for the projects will be taken from the 2009 bond issue, which voters approved in April.

St. John Acting Chief Administrative Officer Buddy Boe said after the meeting that work would include installation of pumping stations in Old Riverlands and around St. Peter’s School. He said crews will also work to widen and replace old or misplaced culverts in the drainage system.

Boe said evidence that the parish is in need of drainage improvements could be seen through the rain event that passed through St. John Parish Monday night and Tuesday morning. He said the parish received more than seven inches of rain in a span of four hours, an amount that is far too much for the parish’s drainage system to process.

“The key to getting the water out is pumping it out,” Boe said. “It just had nowhere to go. These projects will go a long way toward making sure that does not occur anymore.”

Several council members took time out during the meeting to express gratitude that the projects were finally moving forward.

“I know that some of you in Old Riverlands have waited for this for 40 years, but it is finally going to happen,” said Councilman Ronnie Smith. “I’m sorry you had to go through the rain this morning, but I can assure you that it is finally getting done.”

In other action from Tuesday, after four weeks of delay, the council approved the parish’s $51.9 million budget for 2010. For more info on the flooding and other projects on tap in the parish, check out this weekend’s edition of L’Observateur.