St. John targets storm upgrades

Published 3:10 pm Friday, March 6, 2015

LAPLACE — As a result of the devastating impact of Hurricane Isaac in 2012, St. John the Baptist Parish will participate in a nearly $1 billion competition effort inviting communities that have experienced natural disasters to compete for funds to help them rebuild and increase their resilience to future disasters.

An informational meeting on the National Disaster Resilience Competition, a Community Development Block Grant available to communities impacted by Presidentially declared disasters between 2011-13, will be held at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday in the Percy Hebert Building’s Council Chambers, located at 1801 W. Airline Hwy. in LaPlace.

Representatives from the parish and the Disaster Recovery Unit of the State of Louisiana Office of Community Development will be on hand to discuss phase one of the competition and its timeline.

President Barack Obama announced the competition June 14 in response to demand from state and local leaders working to increase the safety and security of their communities.

The competition promotes risk assessment and planning for implementation of innovative resilience projects to better prepare communities for future storms and other extreme events.

St. John Parish is seeking competition funding for East Bank water system improvements, consolidation and expansion of wastewater treatment plants, drainage improvements and a transformational model for developing public housing.

“Strengthening critical infrastructure to withstand the impacts of hurricanes and other severe weather events is vital to the resiliency of our parish, the region and the State of Louisiana,” Parish President Natalie Robottom said.

Of the nearly $1 billion available, about $820 million is earmarked to help states and local governments that experienced a major disaster in 2011 – 13, a White House press release said. States in the Hurricane Sandy-affected region will be eligible to compete for approximately $180 million.

Applications for the competition are due March 27, and responses are due within 60 business days of that deadline. If the application for phase one is approved, St. John Parish will move into phase two of the competition.