Local projects outlined

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 5, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

LAPLACE – State Sen. Troy Brown released information this week regarding the legislative and departmental funding projects for St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Iberville, Lafourche and West Baton Rouge parishes in District 2, which he represents. The projects focus on various highway improvement projects as well as new economic development initiatives.
St. John the Baptist Parish will receive funding for the installation of water lines in the Belle Terre area and the repaving of the Regala Park parking lot. Other projects include patching Main Street, the addition of a path to the top of the eastbank levees and preventative maintenance throughout the parish. The Nalco Co. will be building a dry polymer production facility at its Garyville plant, a move that is expected to add at least 189 new jobs. The parish also applied for a low-interest loan to aid in wastewater improvement.
St. Charles Parish will receive funding to construct a restroom building at West Bank Bridge Park and add a hurricane protection levee. U.S. Highway 61 will be patched and Louisiana Highway 52 will be overlayed. Pathways will be added to the top of the eastbank levees in the parish, and drainage ditches on Louisiana Highway 50 will be replaced with pipes. In addition, signage will be added to several highways and sidewalks to the city streets. Funding will also be in place to add a guardrail and protective screen to Des Allemands bridge and complete microsurfacing on Louisiana Highway 18.
St. James Parish will receive funding to install generators at lift stations in Gramercy, replace gate valves in Lutcher and build a parking lot at the parish courthouse. There will be repairs made to cable barriers on Interstate 10, a right turning lane added to Louisiana Highway 3125, cleaning and repairs for the Mississippi River and Sunshine bridges, asphalt overlays on Louisiana Highway 18 and a trail added Plantation Trace. NuStar Energy also announced a $365 million investment to increase the size of their storage tank capacity at the company’s St. James terminal.
Brown also plans to implement new strategies to help with the need for skilled labor because of the amount of growth predicted for South Louisiana. By partnering with local schools, Brown intends to dispel the stigma that surrounds vocational education and encourage curriculums that focus on both college-preparatory and career-oriented styles of education.
“South Louisiana will experience unprecedented growth throughout the chemical, oil and gas and petrochemical industry,” said Brown. “To help facilitate the employment opportunities, I will be setting up a number of job fairs in order to bring the many new and current employers to detail exactly what caliber of workers they are seeking, and as well to outline the background and training they are looking for in potential workers. These upcoming employment opportunities will be a huge asset for the area.”
In addition, Brown intends to host seminars for prospective homebuyers and homeowners looking to refinance. The meetings will provide attendees with all of the basic information required to purchase, build or refinance a home. Workshops are also in the works for new and potential small businesses in District 2.
“Entrepreneurship and homeownership is an area of much desire for many people, yet the knowledge base to accomplish either continues to remain lacking or is very shallow. Addressing this void should stimulate growth in both new small businesses along with promoting growth in homeownership,” said Brown. “Statistics show that homeownership is the most important purchase we will make in our lifetime, yet understanding how to achieve this has remained a constant hurdle for many over the years.”