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Beautification of exits takes a major step forward


LAPLACE — Beautification of the Highway 51 and Belle Terre Interstate exits took a major step forward when the St. John Baptist Parish Council authorized a Request for Proposals to conduct project scoping, alternative analysis and conceptual design for the areas.

Director of Planning and Zoning Rene Pastorek said his department along with the Economic Development Department are exploring opportunities to increase visibility to the two LaPlace exits.

“The goal is to attract business and growth for improvement of the local economy in the parish,” Pastorek said.

The Council also approved a resolution extending a professional services agreement with CSRS, Inc. for the Belle Terre Streetscape and Stormwater Enhancement Project. Pastorek said because of requests for additional data and analysis, the design phase is not yet complete.

He explained the project was originally conceptualized and the contract awarded with sidewalks envisioned in the median. But because of safety concerns and discussions with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, the sidewalks have been moved to the outside, requiring additional analysis and DODT permitting, as well as adding crosswalks.

During her president’s report, Hotard said flood insurance premiums will drop 5% or 15%, depending on one’s location. She said the decreases came about because of the programs and measures the parish has implemented that have exceeded national flood plain requirements.

In other news, St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre praised the efforts of his team of 911 operators, saying the job is not for everyone but they are very good at what they do.

Tregre made his comments before the Parish Council this past Tuesday after Parish President Jaclyn Hotard read a proclamation proclaiming April 11-17 as 911 Telecommunications Week.

“They are the first people to get the calls,” Tregre said as he was surrounded by several dispatchers. “They are good, efficient and clear.”

“It’s a tough, tough job,” he added, noting that a 911 operator might hear the birth of a child or a person’s last breath on a call.

Hotard said, “Having that calm voice is probably the difference between life and death.”