Iberville Council meets at new Community Center

For only the second time in any sitting Iberville Parish Council member’s memory, Tuesday’s monthly meeting was not held in the council’s usual Plaquemine courthouse meeting room, but instead was held at the new North Iberville Parish Community Center.

Parish Council President Matthew H. Jewell, who represents the northern end of the parish, said he’d been a member for 10 years and only once, about nine years ago, could he remember a meeting held in St. Gabriel. The other 13 board members concurred.

The new $1.5 million, 10,000-square-foot, multi-purpose community center was only dedicated in May, and many of the more than 50 area residents in attendance Tuesday remarked how nice it was.

Two dozen of the parish’s administrative staff members also attended, swelling the audience to more than 75.

In other business:

Parish President’s report: The parish recently acquired a powerful generator, parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. reported, which will be located at the community center just in time for this year’s hurricane season.

“This facility will be a distribution center and will have backup electricity when the storms come,” Ourso said.

“The Russians are coming — the Russians are coming!” Ourso said in his report, referring to the recent announcement by Gov. Bobby Jindal and representatives of EuroChem, a Russian fertilizer company that plans to locate either in Carville, in Iberville Parish, or possibly in St. John the Baptist Parish.

“As far as I’m concerned, this project is a go,” Ourso said. “This will be a $1.5 billion investment and I’m going to do all I can to make sure it is located in Iberville Parish — not St. John Parish.”

Ourso also reported that contractors were driving test pilings at the location for the new $19 million Ochsner Health System medical complex along La. 1 south of Plaquemine.

The test pilings must be driven deep enough to support the sprawling, full-service center slated for construction this year. He said there eventually will be about 800 pilings to support it.

Property sale planned: The council approved an ordinance that puts up for sale 18 pieces of property owned by the parish for nonpayment of taxes and also sets 28 properties for sale that are adjudicated by the parish for nonpayment of taxes.

Edward “Lucky” Songy, parish administrator, said the sale will be administered by the sheriff and will be scheduled within the next 60 days. A list is available at parish offices.

Trash Ordinance Amended: An ordinance defining “solid waste and disposal” was amended to include a new section pertaining to “garbage, trash and disposal,” which will require apartments and mobile home parks to have adequate trash disposal systems, such as large bins, available to residents.

The ordinance stemmed from a long-simmering issue with a badly littered mobile home park that “has become a nuisance” and a “disgrace,” Songy said.

The parish also is seeking legal remedies against the property owner of 26040 Winter St. in Plaquemine, a mobile home park, for its littered and shoddy condition.

“It’s a shame people have to live like that,” Songy said.

A resolution condemning the property was approved.