Shell project could ‘change the face of Sorrento,’ mayor says

This town’s image of a sleepy hamlet caught between the bustling capital city of Baton Rouge and municipalities dominated by chemical and manufacturing plants in St. James Parish could be changing.

That’s if Shell decides to build a $12.5 billion gas-to-liquids facility in Ascension Parish at a site it is evaluating near Sorrento that fronts La. 70 and La. 44.

While Shell has made no guarantees about the site, company management has reached out to Sorrento town leaders to plan a series of meetings over the next few months to address concerns about the project.

Mayor Mike Lambert said during a Town Council meeting Tuesday that Shell’s project “may change the face of Sorrento.”

The project would bring major expansion to the town, Lambert said, and would offer an opportunity for Sorrento officials to look at zoning laws and the creation of a master plan.

The mayor added the town also could get assistance in building new infrastructure to help with Shell’s impact.

He said the oil giant has already promised to four-lane La. 22 from Interstate 10 to La. 70 and to four-lane La. 70 from its intersection with Interstate 10 to the Sunshine Bridge

In other news business Tuesday, the Town Council voted 4-0 vote to purchase a pick-up from the Ascension Parish government for $3,500. The cost of the truck is covered by a Local Government Assistance Program grant awarded to Sorrento last fiscal year from the state’s Office of Community Development.

Council members Patti Poche, Wanda Bourgeois, Marvin Martin and Don Schexnaydre voted to buy the truck.

Councilman Randy Anny did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.