EPPJ discusses upcoming infrastructure projects

The status of a grant application to fund a drainage project and other infrastructural improvements in the parish were discussed at the meeting of the Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday night.
Both Justin Fontenot with the office of parish engineer J. Ronald Landreneau and Secretary-Treasurer Donald Bergeron updated the jury on the proposed plan to build a retention pond. The funding would come from $25 million received by the Acadiana Planning Commission from the governor’s office.
“Our project would be an approximate 81 acre retention pond located somewhere in the northern part of Ward 1 and would cost an approximate $1.9 million,” Bergeron said.
He went on to say that the project was ranked in the top three tiers at a recent meeting of the Acadiana Planning Commission and that the voting on the projects is set for February 14.
Bergeron explained what gives the retention pond project a leg up on other proposed projects around Acadiana. “Our project is really the only one that is addressing the Mermentau Watershed,” he stated. “All of the other projects are dealing with the Vermilion Watershed and the Teche Watershed.”
“This particular pond would retain water that is flowing now into Bayou Joe Marcel,” he added. “We envision that it would take pressure off of the bayou allowing more water to drain out of Ville Platte as the flooding event is happening. It would also help in the Mamou area because we wouldn’t be sending all that water down, so it could have a large impact in helping with flooding.”
Fontenot with Landreneau’s office discussed the schematics of the project and stated it would include levees around the pond and digging that would be above the water line, which was a concern of juror Lamar Johnson.
Bergeron also reported on an upcoming meeting with One Acadiana that is set for February 20 at the Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce. “One Acadiana is planning a regional infrastructure visioning report to identify and align Acadiana’s most pressing infrastructure needs,” he said.
“The meeting will address the pressing needs of economic vitality, quality of life, and regional competitiveness,” he continued. “When finished, the report will serve as a tool to advocate for smart infrastructure investments across the region.”
The police jury also discussed with Crooked Creek Park Manager Kim Ortego the possibility of loaning money from the general fund to Crooked Creek for improvements to the park.
“One project that I think would help Crooked Creek is sewer hookups throughout the whole park,” expressed Public Works Director Chester Granger. “The circles with the bath houses would be easy because all we have to do is run the hookup to each campsite. The crossing underneath the road is there. It can be done, but the old sites need to be modernized.”
Juror Lamar Johnson agreed. “You could start at the old campgrounds with 76 spots at the furthest north and do one circle,” he said. “Then you can stop and do the next circle the next year. It can be made into two or three projects.”
In other business, the jury:
• approved the low bid of F. Phillips General Contractor for construction of a new Chataignier Library Branch building.

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