After years of discussion, a public boat launch is nearly ready to be built in Leeville.
On Tuesday, the Lafourche Parish Council unanimously approved agreements with the Greater Lafourche Port Commission and the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that will help pay for the $1.5 million project, according to a recent report in the Houma Daily Courier.
“Anything that will benefit Lafourche Parish, especially the 10th ward, we’re all for it,” Port Commission board member Larry Griffin said. “Anything that’s going to be a money proposition for the people of Leeville who were hurt tremendously by the new road, we’re glad to help.”
All that’s left is some paperwork and the project can go out for bid, Parish President Charlotte Randolph said.
“We received today an official document from Wildlife and Fisheries, which means that the final step, as soon as that is signed and returned to Wildlife and Fisheries, (the project) can go out to bid the next day,” Randolph said.
The launch will greatly benefit the community, said Councilman Daniel Lorraine.
“Anywhere you can build a boat launch, I don’t care where it’s at, it’s economic development,” Lorraine said. “All you have to do is stand on the side of the road on the weekend and watch all of these guys pull their boats in. That’s money for the parish, big money.”
Janet Rhodus, founder of the nonprofit Launch Leeville, said she’s excited to see the final pieces of the puzzle coming together.
“We’re almost ready to pop the champagne,” she said. “We’re very excited that this is finally following through.”
Rhodus had grown frustrated with various delays and even speculated the parish administration was intentionally stalling.
“If this launch finally gets off the ground like it’s supposed to, I’m willing to let all of the deliberate delays and incompetencies go by the wayside because all we want is the boat launch,” she said.
Randolph denies there have been any intentional delays.
“I encourage people to fish Leeville, and if they’re not a customer, they should be one,” Randolph said.
The launch will accommodate more than 50 truck/trailer combinations and include a kayak launch, Lorraine said. The launch will be built just south of the La. 1 toll bridge.
Randolph said the money is already in place for the project, and the parish has secured the necessary permits.
Lorraine, whose district includes Leeville, said the launch will help those who took a financial loss when the new elevated La. 1 took traffic away from their businesses.
“Some businesses have lost 50 to 60 percent since the bypass went up,” Lorraine said. “It would attract people to (Leeville), and they would go buy things in the area.”
The launch will be built with $350,000 in parish money, $500,000 in federal aid, $500,000 from the state and $300,000 from the Greater Lafourche Port Commission.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Houma Daily Courier Staff Writer Jacob Batte filed this report.