Major strides made in the repair of Ida-damaged buildings

Published 12:02 am Saturday, August 27, 2022

LAPLACE — Only days prior to the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ida unleashing its fury on St. John the Baptist Parish, major strides were made in the ongoing repair of government buildings.

Council members this past Tuesday night approved several resolutions allowing a variety of repairs to damaged buildings on both sides of the Mississippi River.

Del-Con of Berwick was awarded a $325,00 bid to repair buildings in Garyville and Reserve. Buildings slated for repair are the Teche Action Center, Homer Boogie Joseph Community Center, the Juvenile Services Center and the health unit, all in Reserve.

Two additional buildings in Garyville are also scheduled for repair.

The council awarded a $166,300 bid to D.L. Daigle and Co of Kenner to repair buildings in Edgard, including the Teche Action Center, the LSU Ag Center, the Council on Aging and the St. John West Bank Public Works building.

Roof repairs will begin on 15 government buildings scattered throughout the parish after the council approved a $276,000 bid from Chatmon Construction of LaPlace. Peter Montz, purchasing and procurement director for the parish, said the roofs are all asphalt shingle.

“It’s good to see these repairs taking place,” Councilman Lennix Madere said.

Also during the meeting:

The council awarded a $568,500 bid to TBT Contracting of Thibodaux for construction of the Ezekial Jackson Airnasium in Edgard. The project will consist of replacing the concrete basketball court, goals, lighting and a new airnasium.

The council authorized the parish to enter into a sub-grant agreement with Smart Home America for a community resilience housing plan. The grant is for $20,000 to produce a community resilience housing plan that will provide implementable funding strategies to improve available housing in the parish.

Approval is contingent on Smart Home America signing off on two adjustments recommended by Keith Green of the District Attorney’s office, one being that any litigation would be filed in Louisiana and not Alabama, as stated in the original proposal.

“Obviously we do not want to do that; we want to do that here in Louisiana,” Green said.

He added the original contract proposal also mandates the parish to pay legal fees for both parties. The parish is sending a proposal for the parish to pay only its legal fees.

“The contingency means that unless these two requirements are met, we can’t move forward with the contract,” Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said. “If they agree, we can move forward and not run the risk of forfeiting any funds.”

Council members also denied several zoning requests by a LaPlace storage unit business that would have changed a C-3 area to Industrial 1. The area is located near the Glade subdivision, off of Highway 51.

A representative for the company said the applicant had approached the Planning and Zoning Department about the project and said the owner was told the project would not be allowed in an area zoned C-3.

The owner then went before the Planning and Zoning Commission with the change request, and it was denied.

“I support the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission to deny (the) changes,” Councilman Robert Arcuri said. “That would open the door to future changes to I-1 (changes).

“I’m all for this business in the parish but I believe there are other I-1 sites they could look at.

Councilman Tom Malik agreed, saying he was in favor of the business but opposed to the rezoning.

“So that there is clarity, let’s say a year from now the business moves on wit this zoned Industrial,” he said. “What else could move in? It’s the idea of having an I-1 in that residential area.”