St. James Council may buy 236 acres in southern Vacherie

VACHERIE — The St. James Parish Council is considering an ordinance to purchase 236 acres of property in southern Vacherie to be used for wetland assimilation and habitat restoration.

The proposed ordinance came up during the council’s Monday meeting.

The parish has received a $1 million capital outlay grant from the state earmarked for the purchase of the land, Parish President Timmy Roussel said.

The cost of the land totals $993,175, according to the ordinance.

A public hearing on the matter will be held at 6:15 p.m. March 6 in the parish courthouse at Convent.

Other business taken up by the council included:

YOUTH CENTER: The council received an update on the status of the St. James Parish Youth Center.

Ridgely Mitchell, confidential assistant to the parish president, said the commission tasked with deciding what to do with juvenile offenders from the region met last week, but Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack did not attend.

The youth center, located on the west bank of the Mississippi River near Donaldsonville, is scheduled to close June 30 because of new state regulations that will drive up the cost of running the facility.

Phone calls to Waguespack have not been returned, Mitchell said.

Waguespack’s idea to revise Assumption Parish’s current adult detention center to fit the needs of juvenile offenders is the only plan the commission has supported.

Brazan encouraged Mitchell to meet privately with Waguespack if the sheriff could not attend commission meetings and to keep trying to reach him on the phone.

Councilmen expressed concern over the youth center’s looming shutdown date and Eric Deroche, parish Director of Emergency Preparedness, reminded the Parish Council that employment issues could close the facility before its summer shutdown date.

Deroche said many facility employees already were leaving for other jobs.

STREET NAME: The council voted to change the name of Romeville’s Central School Street. The new name is Safety Drive Street.

Councilmen Alvin St. Pierre, Terry McCreary, Jason Amato, Charles Ketchens, Ralph Patin, Ken Brass and Jimmy Brazan approved the ordinance in a 7-0 vote Monday.

St. James Stevedoring Partners LLC purchased the former Romeville Elementary School building on Central School Street and asked the Parish Council to change the street name as a result, Patin said.

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