St. Charles grants shore parish against future storms

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 28, 2013

HAHNVILLE – A new permanent emergency generator will soon provide backup power at the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter, granting the ability for staff members and four-legged residents to shelter-in-place during a wider range of hurricane scenarios.
The addition comes as a result of $344,500 in FEMA Hazard Mitigation grant funding procured by the St. Charles Parish Grants Office. The parish will pick up the cost of engineering on the project in 2014, which totals $29,000.
The grant is one of 10 received by the parish in 2013 for additional drainage, hurricane protection, flooding and hazard mitigation, government buildings and recreation projects for a total of more than $9.5 million.
A $4,062,429 FEMA grant will also fund the elevation of 27 repetitive flooding loss homes in St. Charles Parish – two in Ama, five in Luling, 18 in Destrehan and two in St. Rose. In the competitive Flood Mitigation Assistance Program, participating homeowners match their individual grant amounts by 25 percent. The Parish Council recently awarded a contract to the company Solutient to manage the program.
The parish’s Hazard Mitigation Plan will also undergo an update funded by an $86,167.50 FEMA grant. Federal law requires updates of the HMP every five years for the parish to receive hazard mitigation grants. The parish will cover the 25 percent local matching requirement.
Other notable grants came in the form of funds to support the St. Charles Parish West Bank Levee Initiative. Grant funds from the State of Louisiana — including $525,000 of state capital outlay funding from the Office of Facility Planning and Control; more than $1.2 million from the Department of Transportation and Development’s Statewide Flood Control Program; and $2 million from the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority — are being utilized for the soon-to-be-constructed Willowridge Phase of the West Bank Hurricane Protection Levee.
“The support of our local state legislators has been vital to the successes achieved so far with the levee project and with many other parish priorities,” St. Charles Parish Grants Officer Holly Fonseca said. “They know first-hand the needs of our parish and are willing to convince their peers of our necessities as well, so we are extremely grateful.”
An additional FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant for approximately $1 million provided for the installation of automatic bar screen cleaners at the Randolph Pump Station in Des Allemands, otherwise known as the Up the Bayou Pump Station. Bar screen cleaners allow the intake of a pumping station to be cleaned of debris automatically, increasing the drainage efficiency of the pump station. The project is one of a group of projects — both completed and upcoming — to improve drainage in the area in and around the Sunset Drainage District. St. Charles Parish became the governing authority of the Sunset Drainage District in August.
In addition, the goal of increasing security at the Hahnville courthouse was also supported by $145,560 from the Louisiana Office of Community Development’s Local Government Assistance Program. The funds are being used in the first quarter of 2014 to construct a new main security entrance for the courthouse that includes high-tech screening equipment.
A grant from private industry rounds out the list for 2013, with Entergy Corp. providing $25,000 for repairs to Norco’s Wetland Watchers Park. The park and its outdoor classrooms were heavily damaged during Hurricane Isaac in 2012, and it was recently reopened to the public following the repairs.