POSTED: Friday, May 18, 2012 - 3:00am
UPDATED: Friday, May 18, 2012 - 3:04am
GONZALES, LA — After state officials presented Ascension Parish officials with a disaster recovery funding check worth more than $2 million recently, President Tommy Martinez then presented a check worth almost $1 million to Gonzales city officials to add to construction funding of their new police station.
The total funding check was presented to President Martinez by Pat Forbes, executive director with the state Office of Community Development during the parish council meeting on April 19.
The check, worth $2,258,043, was the second payment of what will be a total of over $19 million in funding for Ascension Parish for damages from Hurricane’s Gustav and Ike.
Forbes said three projects within Ascension Parish were chosen to be funded including the construction of a new police station in Gonzales, the purchase the Louisiana Fairgrounds in Donaldsonville, and for conducting a study of the drainage issues on the West Bank.
“These projects will all help speed the economic recovery of Ascension, and help prepare the parish against future disasters,” Forbes said.
Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux and several city councilmen received the check from President Martinez worth $995,000.
“On behalf of the parish, we were glad that this was a project that was chosen,” President Martinez said. "I know Police Chief Sherman Jackson is very happy with the project.”
President Martinez said the funding would cover about 25 percent of the total cost of the new police station construction.
“It helps and I know it saves you from putting out more tax dollars,” President Martinez said. “We appreciate you all, and we appreciate the city and all the cooperation and again the great working relationship we had during (Hurricane) Gustav.”
“We really do appreciate this,” said Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux. “The president is right, we really did work hard together on this with a great team effort and I can’t thank Martha Collins and her staff (parish grants office) enough for staying on top of the one million dollars. It’s very, very helpful.”
Mayor Arceneaux said the new police station will encompass about 18,000 square feet, and will be located on more of an elevated footprint than the original station.
Forbes said the state received about $1 billion in federal tax funds through the Department of Housing and Urban Development for recovery of the two hurricanes. He said approximately half of that funding is in the process of being allocated to parishes that were affected by the storms to fund their own recovery priorities.
Forbes said over 70 percent of the $19 million that is allocated to Ascension Parish is already obligated through approved applications.