Following countless meetings over a six month period, the St. John the Baptist Parish Citizens Advisory Committee presented the "Community Recovery Strategy" document to the Parish Council at Tuesday night’s meeting. The document is a culmination of committee's work and includes citizen-driven projects and funding sources for building back better and stronger. Mark Allemond, FEMA Task Force Lead, congratulated St. John Parish for being the first community to fully implement the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), which is a new FEMA initiative. Raymond Goodman, Disaster Recovery Manager and Carey Gauff, Housing Co-Chariman, were also present at the meeting in support of the project.
The final document includes fifty projects identified under five categories: Economic, Housing, Health and Social Services, Infrastructure, and Natural and Cultural Resources. Among the top projects identified 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. Several of the projects identified in the framework are in the development phase and funding opportunities are being pursued.
Each committee identified a “Project Champion” to serve as lead until the project is completed. The committee will continue to meet periodically to provide status updates and communicate progress. “I commend the Citizens Advisory Committee for their dedication and hard work during this devastating time in our community. As the community remains focused on the common goal of recovery, St John the Baptist Parish is well on its way to Building Back Better and Stronger,” said Parish President Natalie Robottom. To review the Community Recovery Strategy, visit sjbparish.com or view a copy at all parish libraries.
Raymond Goodman expressed his appreciation and positive outlook at the meeting Tuesday night, “I would like to thank the residents, committee members and the Parish administration for participating in the planning process. As we work together to Build Back Better and Stronger, the committee will continue to focus on finding potential funding for the projects identified.”
The “Building Back Better and Stronger” initiative is supported by state and federal partner agencies under the National Disaster Recovery Framework launched in Louisiana following Hurricane Isaac.