Wednesday, April 17, 2013
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH – St. John Parish is one important step closer to its goal of “Building Back Better and Stronger” following Hurricane Isaac.
During recent open houses and community meetings, as well as completion of an online survey, hundreds of people cast ballots to help St. John’s volunteer Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) prioritize projects for the rebuilding effort.
“Since we launched the One Parish, One Future: Building Back Better and Stronger initiative in January, we have been extremely pleased with the level of citizen involvement,” said Dr. Wayne Robichaux, Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee. “The citizens committee has put in countless hours behind the scenes and at our open houses, while hundreds of people have contributed thoughtful ideas and sound strategies. And now the voters have given us clear direction as we move to the next step.”
Among the top projects identified by voters are improving mental health services, initiating “safe neighborhood” programs, developing programs for parish youth, and supporting efforts to build permanent levees. Other priorities are improving the parish’s drainage capacity, attracting an outlet mall to the parish and developing a Lake Pontchartrain park. In all, voters chose 25 priority projects from a total of 51 potential projects.
“We are now in the process of creating detailed project descriptions for inclusion in the community recovery strategy,” said Raymond Goodman, Local Disaster Recovery Manager. “Although the 25 highest ranked projects will be identified as such, all of the projects will be included. Once completed, the recovery strategy will be presented to the public.”
During the balloting process, voters were asked to rank their top five choices in each of the five project categories: Economic, Housing, Health and Social Services, Infrastructure, and Natural and Cultural Resources.
The “One Parish, One Future: Building Back Better and Stronger” initiative is supported by state and federal partner agencies under the new National Disaster Recovery Framework launched in Louisiana following the August 2012 storm. The framework’s cornerstones include citizen involvement and local leadership.
To learn more about the “Building Back Better and Stronger” initiative, visit the St. John website at www.sjbparish.com.