Good news told on Lake End Park project
By: GEOFFREY STOUTE
MORGAN CITY — Progress has been made on the proposed Lake End Park cabins in Morgan City, which is one of the 2012 fiscal year access projects proposed for funding in the Atchafalaya Basin Program’s annual plan.
The Atchafalaya Basin Program has received the cooperative endeavor agreement, signed by Morgan City Mayor Tim Matte, to proceed with the project; and in this year’s plan, officials said they are trying to fund one cabin at the site in addition to the few the city is trying to build.
“We’ll be seeing that moving forward before long,” Steve Chustz, deputy assistant secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Coastal Management, told those gathered at a Basin program public hearing Tuesday.
The project involves constructing cabins along the shore of Lake Palourde. Shoreline stabilization and cabin design already have been completed.
Heavily used projects, like this park, as well as water quality projects are where the Atchafalaya Basin Program’s $3 million in funding for this fiscal year will be spread out, Chustz
“We’ve got much grander plans out there but we’re going to have to kind of try to do it there as money becomes available,” he said of Lake End Park.
Other projects considered for funding in the 2012 plan are Wilson’s Landing near Patterson, the Belle River Park, the Morgan City Interpretive Center, and Stephensville and Veterans parks.
The Wilson’s Landing work calls for bringing in fill material to raise the elevation of the present low water launch so it can function at higher river stages as well as possible extension of ramps.
The Belle River Park project includes a roadway, parking, drainage, trails, landscaping, playground equipment, lighting, pavilion meeting hall and building utilities, and sewer treatment.
Any funds provided for the Morgan City Interpretive Center would be used as matching funds for the development of the Engineering Design Report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Remaining work at the Stephensville Park project includes ball field lighting, concession stand, restroom, parking, tennis court and sewage treatment, among others.
The Veterans Park work includes lighting and landscaping for baseball fields, tennis courts, walking trail and parking lot as well as concession stand equipment, batting cages and sidewalk canopies, a waterfront dock, spray water park, shuffleboard and volleyball court.
Water quality projects the Basin program is working on are the Upper Grand River Flats, which involves allowing water through this stagnant area, Chustz said.
Sedimentation and water quality issues in East Grand Lake, which was funded in 2010, is another project the Basin program will be working on this year. While this project will have to be completed in multiple parts, when complete it will address water quality and sedimentation in the East Grand Lake/Flat Lake/Upper Belle River management area.
The entire project is expected to cost much more than $3 million.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the public heard from state Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, who authored a bill during this Louisiana Legislative session which states that if the state reaches or surpasses the record level of collections of severance taxes on natural resources recorded in 2008, then 5 percent of the Atchafalaya Basin Program’s share of that portion (which could be up to $10 million) will be put in an account and used to buy property from private landowners in the Basin. These lands will be turned into areas that can be accessed by the public.
Basin officials said that access problems are great for users of the Basin because lands are privately owned.