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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Port Commission to help fund Leeville Launch improvements

Port Commission to help fund Leeville Launch improvements

The Greater Lafourche Port Commission (GLPC) has agreed to share in funding to build a new fishing pier and a pavilion at the Leeville Public Boat Launch.

Without GLPC, however, the project would still be stuck in “neutral”, as it has been since before the new administration of Lafourche Parish government took over in January.

The proposal to enhance a public launch which dumps into the heart of Lafourche’s saltwater fishing playground was moving along at the end of 2015 with permits in hand and enough money to fund the project.

The state of Louisiana had agreed to donate $500,000 and the parish would put up another $166,000—plenty of money to get the work done.

But a sluggish parish government, a changeover in parish administration and a state budget crisis all contributed to stalling the work.

New Louisiana Governor John Bell Edwards decided to whittle down the state’s unused half-million dollar gift, leaving the parish only $100,000.

Still, the project is moving in the right direction.

Joe Picciola of Picciola and Associates, Inc. informed the Council on June 14 that he would deliver the final submittal of design and cost estimates to the parish within days and that the project could go forward if funding is available.

On July 11, Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle attended the GLPC Executive Committee meeting, asking the Port Commission to match the parish’s $166,000.

“The estimate is $390,000 to $400,000. We (parish) will put up $166,000, the state $100,000. We ask ya’ll for a little cushion to go up to (an additional) $166,000. We will use our money first. We will only take (from GLPC) up to what the bid is. We are asking ya’ll to be on standby,” said Cantrelle.

Cantrelle made it clear that the wheelchair accessible and lighted fishing pier will be built first and that if cost estimates for the 40-ft. by 70-ft. pavilion run higher than expected, the latter will not be done.

Seat “H” Commissioner Jimmy Guidry asked about the pavilion cutting into other businesses in the area.

“I think they made the same statement when the boat launch was built. But it turned out to be a win for the parish and every business person there. It’s like building a mall — if you bring more people in, you will sell more. I can’t see why it’s gonna hurt any business,” Cantrelle responded.

GLPC Executive Committee members Perry Gisclair, Larry Griffin and John Melancon agreed to put the request on the regular meeting agenda.

On July 13 GLPC unanimously approved a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement to reimburse the parish up to $166,000, after parish and state monies are exhausted.

Cantrelle called the agreement an “opportunity to help the business people of Leeville and keep tax dollars in the parish.”