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‘Our hidden gem of Peavine’: Quality of life, parish economics boost with boat launch improvements

An extended walking path, new lighting, improved parking and a dredged channel for safer boating are highlights of an upgraded Peavine Boat Launch in LaPlace.

St. John the Baptist Parish officials celebrated the amenities during a ribbon cutting ceremony last week.

“Quality of life is a big issue, because we do have residents that come out and enjoy the lake,” Parish President Natalie Robottom said. “We also have fisherman who utilize this for their livelihood. It’s a combination of quality of life and economics.”

Robottom said the Parish received input during public hearings from local residents who described what was important to them in an improved boat launch.

Parish leaders and supporters cut the boat launch ribbon.

Parish leaders and supporters cut the boat launch ribbon.

“We know it’s an important area, and we’re fortunate to be able to write a project that was funded through CDBG,” Robottom said.

Peavine Boat Launch improvements were completed by Coastal Marine Contractors at a cost of $378,695.

Parish Councilman Michael Wright, who represents the Peavine Boat Launch district, said the improvements were “much anticipated” and enhance “our hidden gem of Peavine.”

“Our boat launch is used heavily by commercial and recreational fisherman and boaters year round,” he said. “I look forward to the continued investment the Parish will make further enhancing all the area has to offer.”

The project was designed by Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc. and funded primarily, Parish officials said, through a Gustav-Ike Community Development Block Grant.

After hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the state provided $7 million in CDBG disaster recovery funding to St. John the Baptist Parish to help rebuild infrastructure, stimulate economic growth and plan for and mitigate against future risks, according to Pat Forbes, executive director of Louisiana’s Office of Community Development, Disaster Recovery Unit.

Forbes said Robottom’s staff worked with his office to “quickly and wisely” invest those dollars into several critical projects.

“Occasionally, projects can be stagnated by administrative procedure, but we have been particularly pleased with how expeditiously the parish staff responds to our requests for documentation,” Forbes said.

“They certainly share our vision of a safer, stronger and smarter recovery.”

Other projects completed with Gustav/Ike funding, Parish officials said, include minor home repairs, Foxwood Levee, canal clearing and generators for Parish lift stations

“Our goal is to continue to protect our community,” Robottom said. “If we can keep water back (in the Peavine area), then we can keep it out of our community. This is just one more piece to us trying to protect our residents.”