Jefferson Parish Council Announces Plans for $84M in Rescue Funding
JEFFERSON, La. – From the Jefferson Parish Council:
The Council has announced projects to be funded by the American Rescue Plan, an act of Congress that gave state and local governments funding to mitigate the significant negative financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jefferson Parish received $84 million in federal funding, which will be allocated to transformational projects all throughout the parish that focus on aging infrastructure, economic development and more.
All projects are a culmination of recommendations from the American Rescue Plan Task Force, which was established to advise the Council on best use of funds from the American Rescue Plan. The Task Force, which is composed of leaders from local government, civic groups and business associations, met regularly to hear proposals for potential uses of Jefferson Parish’s funds. The Jefferson Parish Council would like to thank all the representatives for their participation in this process.
“We want to make sure that every corner of this parish is touched,” said Councilman Ricky Templet (At-Large Division A). “This will be an incredible mixture of infrastructure upgrades and economic development that Jefferson Parish has not seen in a long time. I want to thank my colleagues for working cohesively on the needs of our parish as well as moving the needle with transformative initiatives.”
“It’s important that these funds are used to help transform our parish into a better place than it was pre-pandemic,” said Councilman Scott Walker (At-Large Division B). “With various large-scale district projects in the works, as well as a transformational redesign of the Shrine on Airline that will allow us to fully utilize one of our most valuable pieces of property, I think we’ve achieved a balance that bodes well for our future.”
Big projects include $15 million dedicated to improvements at the Shrine on Airline in Metairie and the Alario Center in Westwego, in which the Council also hopes to work with the state for matching funds. Additionally, funding will be allocated to many more initiatives which help address a number of community needs with the goal of building the future of Jefferson Parish. Specific projects are outlined below by each district:
“The main focus in District 1 will be coastal protection and recovery along with drainage and infrastructure hardening,” said Councilman Marion Edwards (District 1). “We are also going to invest in a complete overhaul of our river batture and ferry house to accept an anticipated return of water transit and to lure river cruises. This was boasted as a true regional benefit by the task force. Beautification and litter abatement across the entire Westbank with a focus on the Westbank Expressway as well as Terrytown/Harvey streetlighting upgrades will be part of our plan as well. Councilman Edwards adds, “Large parts of my district are still unfortunately pulling themselves out of the disruption caused by Hurricane Ida. I hope to assist in getting our lives back on track in the vulnerable coastal areas but also will be focused on a new look for our river batture that will bring an economic boost to all of the Westbank in Jefferson Parish.”
“Aging infrastructure is my most pressing concern to use this funding for,” said Councilman Deano Bonano (District 2). “As far as economic development is concerned, the return of the old Zephyr Field into commerce and the continuing redevelopment of the Hope Haven Campus into a center for health and fitness on the Westbank of Jefferson Parish are two of my priorities to allocate funding towards.”
“I am ecstatic about having the resources needed to make marked infrastructure improvements related to streets, drainage and sewerage, as well as a focus on quality of life projects throughout District 3,” said Councilman Byron Lee (District 3).
“Funding from the American Rescue Plan will be focused on transformational projects within District 4,” said Councilman Dominick Impastato (District 4). “These include land banking, the concept of the Parish acquiring land, particularly in blighted areas, so that we can provide direct guidance in its redevelopment. Additionally, we plan to use the funding to initiate a façade improvement program for the areas surrounding Lafreniere Park, and to potentially support infrastructure resiliency efforts that would place utility lines underground especially in key commercial corridors within District 4. We are ecstatic to receive a portion of the American Rescue Plan funding for District 4. Our sole intention is to use these one-time funds for transformative projects that would change District 4 for the good our of community.”
“The Metairie Business Development District and Fat City are the geographic heart of Council District 5; therefore, funding will be used to construct a transportation hub, programmable green space and much needed multi-purpose building ‘Eat Fat City Center,’ which will be focused on nurturing entrepreneurship, arts and technology,” said Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken (District 5). “A severe lack of parking has long starved business growth in Fat City. Constructing a centrally located parking garage and transit hub will allow businesses there to finally thrive. Add in a building with flexible meeting space, chock full of technology, and home to a host of business centric organizations and we will finally have the recipe to feed existing businesses and nurture new ideas to life.”
For more information about Jefferson Parish, visit www.jeffparish.net.