Parish president looks back on successful year
Top among the many accomplishments in 2013 for the St. Mary Parish government was the completion of the Philip Luke Flood Protection Structure on the Franklin Canal.
The $5.74 million project completed in November was a project of the St. Mary Levee District with cooperation by the city, parish. state and federal governments.
Funding for the project included an initial $640,000 in state capital outlay funds obtained by the City of Franklin, $4.6 million from the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and $500,000 from state coffers.
Parish President Paul Naquin said the structure should help to prevent flooding of the lower Franklin area from hurricane tidal surges. Those areas include south Willow Street and the Pecan Acres Subdivision. Construction of a new pumping station to facilitate drainage on the protected side of the structure is set to begin in early 2014.
Second on the list of accomplishments, Naquin said, was the completion in November of the Bertrand-Vinning Pump Station in Bayou Vista. A project of Sub-Gravity Drainage District 1 of Gravity Drainage District 2, the parish provided $782,500 in community development block grant funds for the project with the remainder of the $2.8 million coming from state capital outlay funds.
The new pump station is located on Opperman Lane about 500 yards from the old Plantation Inn Pump Station, which it will replace. The new station will double the pumping capacity for drainage of the Bayou Vista area, Naquin said.
Other parish projects completed or in the works are being funded by a $19.5 million community development block grant related to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and $6.8 million in bonds from the 1-cent sales tax dedicated to capital improvements to public buildings.
The CDBG projects include:
—Reconstruction of Jolivette and Lebeau streets in Baldwin, $411,400, construction under way.
—Drainage improvements that include culvert upgrades and the addition of a new pump station on south Willow Street in Franklin, $1.2 million; permits pending.
—Replacement and flood proofing of the Atchafalaya River wharf in Berwick, $414,600; construction started in November with completion within 120 days from start.
—Flood protection projects that include floodgate and levee improvements on Yellow Bayou and Hanson Canal, $6.2 million, permits expected to be in hand in January and the project ready for bids in February; Yokely levee improvements, $4.5 million, in rights-of-way acquisition phase; and parishwide sewer lift station electrical retrofits and upgrades, $511,000, construction to start in January.
—Patterson sewer upgrades, $366,500, to be bid out in 2014.
—Just over $2.4 million toward levee improvement projects in Morgan City, project under way.
Capital improvement projects include:
—Blevins building in Franklin: exterior waterproofing and window repainting ($127,218, completed) and modification and improvements to provide parish offices ($873,750, receiving bids in January, work to begin in March or April).
—Courthouse: Extensive exterior work, $891,225, work under way; redesign of entry canopy, $215,525; window replacement, $563,394; elevator and elevator lobby upgrades, $681,525: parish office general improvements on the fifth floor, $116,500; general improvements on the third, fourth and sixth floors, $844,625; replacement and upgrades of HVAC air boxes above ceilings on the third, fourth and sixth floors, $699,000; and boiler re-placement, $145,625, completed. Naquin said the exterior work will include redesign of the parking lot with enhanced landscaping. The long-term goal is to renovate the second floor of the Blevins building to create office space for non-parish agencies currently on the third floor of the courthouse.
That would allow the District Attorney’s office to move from the fifth floor to the third and parish offices on the third floor to move to the fifth, he said.
—Animal Control: facility replacement, $495,125, under design.
—Old Tiger Den building in Franklin renovations for office space, $116,500, under design.
Also started in 2013 was the addition of an emergency generator at the Law Enforcement Center in Centerville. Naquin said the project has been awarded and should be installed in early 2014.
Other projects include those being funded by the Coastal Impact Assistance Program. CIAP provides federal funds to Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas producing states to mitigate the impacts of the industry.
The projects totaling almost $7 million include the Point Chevreuil shoreline protection project, $1.9 million covering 4,250 feet of coast line around the point at the southernmost tip of East Cote Blanche Bay; and the Deer Island Pass realignment, $2.7 million, which includes dredging a new navigation channel at the mouth of Deer Island Bayou to protect marsh land and reduce siltation at Atchafalaya Bay. Permits are pending on both projects and are expected to be issued in early 2014.
Completed CIAP projects include the Burns Point shoreline project, $1.01 million for protection of the 8½-acre recreational vehicle park and campground at Bayou Sale Bay; the $1.6 million Thorguson-Berwick South Road project to widen and overlay the road used as a main thoroughfare by the oil and gas industry.
CIAP monies are also partially funding the construction of a $1.68 million new industrial road in Morgan City between Second Street and Federal Avenue inside the seawall in an effort to divert industrial and commercial traffic away for residential neighborhoods. Funding for the project includes $335,000 in state and $525,000 in parish CIAP funds, and $820,000 in state capital outlay funds. Naquin said he anticipates the project will go out for bids in January.
In other areas, the parish has been allocated hazard mitigation grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a result of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. The grants require a 25 percent match by the local recipient.
Those projects include: —$1 million for wind retrofit projects of public buildings to protect from future damage. The grant will fund projects at the school board Central Office Complex in Centerville, Franklin and Morgan City fire departments, the Blevins building in Franklin and the Office of Emergency Preparedness’ hangar and warehouse at Harry P. Williams Memorial Airport. The project is being rebid with award in January.
—$250,000 for construction of “safe rooms” for staff at drainage pump stations in Amelia and Morgan City, design under review and awaiting FEMA clearance.
—$2.5 million for upgrade of pump stations in the Berwick, Amelia and Morgan City areas, design under review and awaiting FEMA clearance.
—$1.5 million for elevation of the North Bend, Gordy, Ellerslie and Todd pump stations all located off La. 317 south of Centerville; application approved by FEMA and in design phase.
Also designed and awaiting FEMA approval is the flood-proofing of the Courthouse in Franklin estimated at $640,000. The project includes flood proofing the main mechanical room located in the basement. Flood-proofing will include building a 3- to 4-foot high floodwall on the rear of the Courthouse extending from the tunnel entries.
Boat landing improvement projects include construction a floating dock at Joe C. Russo Memorial Boat Launch on the basin levee off of La. 70 north of Morgan City and wharf improvements at the R.J. Marcel Memorial Boat Landing in Amelia. The projects are part of the Coastal Communities Fishery Recovery Program, which provided $400,000 for the projects that will be ready for bids in January.
Sewer installation projects at Websterville and St. Peter Street are in the midst of rights-of-way acquisitions. The Adeline project is moving forward with the recent passage of Water and Sewer District 4 bond issue. Construction of the Bakertown sewer extension project began this month. The parish is proving 85 percent of the funding for the projects with the respective sewer districts pitching in 15 percent, Naquin said.
“It’s been a great year for us, and we’re looking forward to an even better 2014,” Naquin said.