Poll finds west bank residents ready for water upgrade

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2011

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – The new year started with a major sign of progress in St. John the Baptist Parish. The return of the Reserve-Edgard ferry marked the completion of a project that had dragged on since June 2007.

This accomplishment has given some hope that the current administration will get much done in the coming months and, possibly, years. Accordingly, last week visitors to www. lobservateur.com were asked to choose the next project they would like to see the administration tackle.

As the water problems on the east bank seem to finally be getting settled, many on the west bank have wondered when similar upgrades might be made for their communities. More than 40 percent of respondents said they would like to see the parish make upgrades to the system that provides tap water for Edgard, Wallace and Lucy.

The next most popular answer dealt with juvenile delinquency in the parish. Perhaps because of a pair of high-profile murders involving juveniles in the River Parishes near the end of 2010, nearly one-quarter of voters said they would like to see the administration come up with a plan to combat juvenile delinquency.

Another issue on the mind of local residents is the safety of Airline Highway. While the highway remains the main commercial strip in the area, the high volume of traffic along the route had led to many accidents including a pair of pedestrian hit-and-run deaths in the past two years. With this in mind, 15 percent of respondents said they would like local officials to come up with a plan to make the thoroughfare safer.

Lastly, just a combined 20 percent of respondents thought the most pressing issues in the area were either drainage problems or the consolidation of parish offices.

A full breakdown of results follows:

• 15 percent of respondents chose, “Do something to make Airline Highway safer for both motorists and pedestrians.”

• 41 percent of respondents chose, “Improve the west bank water supply.”

• 12 percent of respondents chose, “Clear up drainage problems.”

• 8 percent of respondents chose, “Consolidate parish offices.”

• 24 percent of respondents chose, “Come up with a plan to decrease juvenile delinquency.”