Donaldsonville Council supports westbank drainage grant application

Michael Tortorich

During the first meeting of the year, the Donaldsonville City Council agreed to support Ascension Parish officials’ plan to seek a drainage grant.

Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment and Executive Assistant David Weil joined city officials for the virtual meeting held Jan. 12.

Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment and Executive Assistant David Weil discussed drainage with the Donaldsonville City Council during the Jan. 12 virtual meeting.

Cointment said he and Weil, along with Donaldsonville-area parish council member Alvin “Coach” Thomas and GSA Consulting Engineers, are seeking federal grant money to address larger drainage issues on the west side of the parish.

Kimberly Koehl, who works for GSA, provided details on a federal program that has allocated $1.2 billion to Louisiana following the devastation of the 2016 flood.

The state has been divided into eight regions. The funds will be distributed through three funding rounds, and the deadline to apply is Feb. 26.

Cointment said the west bank has been included in a different region from the east side.

The first round of the funding will go toward shovel-ready projects, the parish president said.

According to Weil, parish leaders have been preparing to apply for the grant well before the deadline. He added that he plans to go house-to-house to personally meet with residents who live in the areas of the proposed drainage projects.

“We’ve got some things we need to address,” Weil said of the drainage issues around the west side.

The first round of grant assistance must be for projects which are shovel-ready, not currently underway, and beneficial to at least one Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or most impacted and distressed (MID) area.

One of the projects includes the construction of two wet-well sites along Bayou Lafourche, and installation of two 24-foot pump stations at the proposed wet-wells.

The goal is to decrease the flood risks of about 70 acres in the area, allowing excess stormwater to runoff to more easily discharge into the body of water. The estimated cost is $1,233,094.

Another project would be Bonadona-Cataldo subdivision drainage improvement work.

The scope of work would include ditch and drainage structure improvements along several streets, including St. Patrick, Vatican Drive, and Maginnis. The estimated cost is $1,250,000.

The third drainage project would include installation of box culverts along Bayou McCall, 11th Street, Thibaut Drive, Reynaud Drive, and the Cy Bean Canal.

The replacement of deficient structures would increase flow of stormwater. The estimated cost is $5,321,017.

The council unanimously agreed to support the parish’s plan.

In other matters:

-- The council voted 5-0 to appoint Charles Brown as chair for 2021. 

He takes the place of Raymond Aucoin, who council members unanimously agreed to name co-chair for the year.

-- Council members recognized new council clerk Ashley Gaignard, who took part in her first meeting.

Retired council clerk Sandra Capone attended the meeting to assist in the transition.

The meeting also marked the first for new council member Michael Sullivan.