Baldwin readies new fire station, flood protection, housing rehab

Flood protection, fire protection and housing rehabilitation mark Baldwin’s year.

Mayor Wayne Breaux said the town has received approval for a $1 million grant to construct a new fire station. The grant was awarded through the Louisiana capital outlay program.

The town put up an additional $200,000 for the facility. Bids were let, but came in over budget, Breaux said, and the architect is revising the plans. Breaux hopes to rebid in about 30 days.

The new facility will be located at the former Baldwin Elementary School that the town acquired from the St. Mary Parish School Board.

The existing fire station will still serve in that capacity for a time then be incorporated into the public works department, he said.

Also this year, Breaux said hurricane flood protection developed in response to the threat of Tropical Storm Lee.

“We were fortunate enough to receive a $1 million grant through the Municipal Infrastructure Program,” Breaux said. “It’s a hurricane-related block grant. That money will be used for flood protection in the Bayou Choupique area that has experienced some flooding in the previous hurricane surges. That will certainly benefit that area and the town as a whole.”

Plans for the structure are under development, the mayor said, and he hopes to see construction in 2012.

The town is working closely with the St. Mary Parish Levee District to tie in both efforts for flood protection.

“Right now the project monies are to protect Baldwin city limits,” Breaux said. “If the levee district wants to put in some money to expand beyond Baldwin we’re certainly willing.”

The town is also building a fire substation west of the railroad tracks “so that we could have a facility that side of the tracks in the event of a fire and the road is blocked by a train. We also hope to start that this year. We’ve had preliminary talks with the state to locate it in the state right of way near the overpasses at Martin Luther King Street. We also hope to discuss with the Port of West St. Mary, since this station will also cover the industrial park site, for some funding help as well.”

Baldwin’s ever-successful housing rehabilitation project received another $800,000 community development block grant. Two homes have been torn down and are being replaced now.

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