Mayor Broome announces $19M plan for drainage projects in EBR Parish

Published: Jun. 9, 2021 at 3:30 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome says she is proposing the Metro Council use $19.29 million of American Rescue Plan funds for drainage projects throughout East Baton Rouge Parish.

The proposal will be presented to the Metro Council on the evening of Wednesday, June 9.

The mayor’s proposal includes using the money to pay for:

  • Storm drain cleanout
  • Channel clearing and grubbing
  • Roadside drainage cave-ins
  • Roadside ditch cleaning
  • Lined canal panel repairs
  • Engineering/project management

Broome says the storm drain cleanout is pending approval from the Metro Council and is scheduled to be heard during the June 23 Metro Council meeting.

“Since the Flood of 2016, drainage has been a top priority for my administration. These proposed projects compliment other major drainage initiatives like the Comite River Diversion Canal and Five Tributaries Project, which will provide formidable relief in reducing potential flood risk,” said Mayor Broome.

“These funds here will provide the opportunity to expedite some additional issues that we see out there, based on the Stormwater Master Plan, that provided this information on the blockage of the storm drains,” said Fred Raiford, East Baton Rouge Director of Transportation and Drainage.

While there’s no exact time-frame yet for these projects.

Raiford says some projects could start soon.

“It’s not something that we believe is going to be months and months and months, no. I mean, I think some of it, we can get started in the next month, especially on the cleaning of the storm drain pipes,” said Raiford.

“Absolutely not. That’s a drop in the bucket,” said Chauna Banks, EBR Metro Councilwoman for District 2.

While Councilwoman Banks says she believe the $20 million for new projects is a start to addressing drainage concerns, she is standing firm on her desire for the entire Metro Council to discuss a temporary ban on new development at their next meeting.

“By knowing what are the pre-requisites that the city has in place, and if those things fail, is the next step a moratorium? But right now, none of those things are in place,” said Councilwoman Banks.

As for the administration’s stance on stopping new development, it appears they will let the council do the talking before any decision is made on their end.

“I think there are a lot of questions still about what’s out there. And I think it’s going to be really interesting to have the council discussions, I know the community’s really engaged in that,” said Darryl Gissel, EBR Chief Administrative Officer.

“I think in many cases, Ascension has announced (proposed) a moratorium. I think, not to say anything bad about another area, I think we’re probably further ahead in terms of some of that investigative work that we’ve done, and some of those changes we’ve already made to our codes,” said Gissel.

It appears that a lot of questions about the future of drainage and development in East Baton Rouge Parish will be addressed at the Metro Council meeting on June 23.

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