Morgan City council OKs levee plan

Paul Landry was appointed as the new City of Morgan City attorney at Tuesday’s council meeting. From left are former City Attorney Greg Aucoin and Landry.
The Daily Review Photo by Zachary Fitzgerald

A plan is now in place to begin work to certify the city’s backwater levees for flood protection with construction expected to be completed on a portion of the project by the end of 2015, according to officials.
The permitting phase of the Morgan City Levee Improvements Project is set to begin after the city council was the final party involved in the project to approve it at the Tuesday council meeting.
Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi said the plans would put the city in a position to be one of the more flood-protected cities.
The St. Mary Parish Consolidated Gravity Drainage District 2 board and St. Mary Levee District commission had already approved the levee alignment plans.
Drainage District 2 Chairman Lee Dragna said officials with the parish levee district and engineering firm T. Baker Smith came to an agreement on the levee alignment for the Morgan City Levee Improvements Project.
With the council’s approval, officials can now move forward with the permitting phase of the project, Dragna said.
The parish is funding the roughly $2.5 million construction costs associated with the Siracusaville levees that will give Morgan City a closed levee system, Dragna said. Officials do not yet have a solution for flood protection in Lakeside Subdivision so that section will not be included in the project, Dragna said.
Plans call for building about 1,600 feet to 1,800 feet of levee by Lake End Park on La. 70 that will bring the Fig Street area and Brownell Homes into the levee system, Dragna said.
The portion of the levee project from Justa Street to the proposed new pump station by Lake End Park could be completed by the end of 2015, T. Baker Smith Engineer Kevin O’Gorman said. Engineers plan to meet with Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development officials about making La. 70 part of the levee system, he said.
Pump Station 3, which is located near Teche Regional Medical Center, will be moved in order to have a new pump station at Lake End Park. Pump Station 4, which is located near Pump Station 3, will be eliminated due to more pumping capacity at the new station.
Moving Pump Station 3 and moving the levee to La. 70 by Lake End Park, will bring the estimated total project cost to about $6.1 million or $6.3 million, he said. Pumps in use at Pump Station 3 will be reused for the new pump station, Dragna said.
A “sister canal” will be dug along La. 70 by expanding a retention pond at the end of the existing drainage canal that will allow water to flow over a weir into the new pump station by Lake End Park, Dragna said.
Hellenic Investments donated about 75 acres of rights-of-way and about 480,000 cubic yards of dirt for the project, Dragna said.
Dean Duplantis of Hellenic Investments, which owns about 300 acres of land in Morgan City, said the city desperately needs a new residential development, and this levee project might make progress on a new development a possibility.
The council also approved a bid of $606,900 by Southern Constructors in New Iberia for Phase VIII of the Roadway Repairs & Improvements project. The road project includes construction work on Palm, Maple, and Spruce streets and part of Lakeside Subdivision, City Public Works Director Mike Loupe said.
Seth Babineaux of Southern Constructors said work could begin in about a month and should take about six months of work to complete.
In other business, the council:
—Accepted the appointment of Paul Landry as city attorney replacing Greg Aucoin who resigned to run for district judge.
—Approved substantial completion of the potable water storage tank roofing.
—Authorized the mayor to sign documents relating to the three new cabins to be built at Lake End Parkway.
—Authorized signing a cooperative endeavor agreement with Drainage District 2 for the district to provide money for the city to assist with grass cutting and maintenance.
—Approved a parade permit for 100 Black Men Prostate Free Cancer Screening to be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 13 at Skinner’s Barbershop located at 1001 Railroad Ave. in Morgan City.
—Accepted the state legislature’s allocation of $35,000 from the hotel/motel tax to be used for costs incurred by the city associated with the Shrimp & Petroleum Festival.
—Authorized the mayor to apply for supplemental funding in the form of a Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Grant for its Wharf Repair Project in the amount of $335,118.
—Approved Doric Lodge 205 to use Lawrence Park for its National Night Out Against Crime from 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 1.
—Heard plans for the fourth annual Hoodstock event to be held Oct. 11 at Brownell Homes, for which organizers had already gotten approval through the Morgan City Housing Authority.

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD zfitzgerald@daily-review.com

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