Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Parish President Robottom requested and received authorization at tonight’s council meeting to move forward with drainage improvements in the Reserve area, as well as programs to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs.
A contract for engineering services was awarded to Shread-Kuyrkendall & Associates, Inc. for design of Phase II of the Reserve Area Drainage Project. This project is primarily funded through a $2.5 million FEMA/GOHSEP Hazard Mitigation Grant from Gustav/Ike and is similar to the work previously conducted with 2009 bond funds. Design costs are based on the engineering curve established by the council and is estimated at $245,725.95. Once the design is completed, bids will be solicited for the construction portion of the project which is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2014. “We continue to focus our efforts on drainage problems attributed to recent hurricanes. Funding is always an issue, but we have the advantage of leveraging parish funds against grant funds to complete this work,” said Parish President Natalie Robottom.
The Parish Administration also received authorization to enter into Cooperative Endeavor Agreements with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC) Greater New Orleans Region, and South Central Louisiana Technical College-River Parishes Campus for implementation of a Small and Emerging Business Development (SEBD) Program. The SEBD Program is a Louisiana Economic Development (LED) initiative that provides technical assistance training to small businesses.
The LSBDC will provide staffing for a Business Training Center located at South Central Louisiana Technical College – River Parishes Campus. This site was acquired through a no-cost agreement between the parish and the college to allow for monthly workshops and teaching FastTrac courses, which is an entrepreneurial training course developed by The Kauffman Foundation. Funding for the program will be allocated through both the St. John Economic Development budget and the SEBD program through LED. “I am pleased that St. John Parish has received federal, state, and local support to spearhead this initiative. This collaborative effort lends support towards meeting our objectives of the creation and retention of jobs, increased access to capital for entrepreneurs and small business owners, and improvements in the small business survival rate in the Parish. Technical assistance training programs increase the viability and competiveness of small business, and I look forward to seeing positive results within our business community,” said Economic Development Director Torri Buckles.