The People's Tribune

Louisiana Officials Proud To Break Ground On Huge Georgia Street Corridor Project

Several city officials and representatives of companies related to the massive Georgia Street project braved the cold on Monday to officially break ground on the $4.5 million venture.

Mayor Bart Niedner offered a few remarks about the project and what it means for Louisiana.

“Georgia Street means many things to us. It is the spine from which the whole of Louisiana is framed. It is a critical piece of our common self-image. And it is a record of our history.”

He added that as a local government being fiscally responsible means balancing not wasting money and resources and taking care of assets.

“We cannot succeed without careful controls on spending; nor can we succeed by hoarding cash at the expense of our infrastructure,” Niedner explained. “In this way, Georgia Street is our teacher and an opportunity to responsibly step forward.”

Niedner pointed out this is the largest non-plant infrastructure project that has been undertaken in the modern history of Louisiana.

He noted it is the culmination of years of careful planning and ensuring a sustainable result within the city’s financial means.

Niedner also thanked City Administrator Kelly Henderson for his dedication to the project in addition to all of the other individuals, companies and agencies that have helped to make the Georigia Street Corridor project a reality.

The Georgia Street Corridor project includes a new street and complete renewal of the sanitary sewer from 4th Street to the Stark Cabin. Between 4th Street and the hospital, the project also includes complete renewal of the water distribution and stormwater systems as well as a new ADA sidewalk.

Niedner explained in a brief earlier this year that there are four pieces to the project. Three infrastructure items must be addressed including sanitary sewer, stormwater, water distribution prior to the street and sidewalk.

“Each piece needs to be done in a concerted order. Otherwise, we would be tearing up our new street and sidewalk to repair or replace underlying infrastructure,” he said.

Streets have been torn up in the past for this reason and it is something Niedner, City Administrator Kelly Henderson and numerous council members have adamantly spoken out against doing again in the future.

Niedner addressed each piece of the project starting with the sanitary sewer.

“This work is not optional even if we were not doing the GSC project. Louisiana is under an abatement order from the State to do this work due to the 2010 failures at the old wastewater treatment plant.”

The work will cost just over $830,000 and will be financed over 15 years. Because it is an enterprise activity it is required to be funded through user rates and not taxes. The estimated rate impact is $4.56/user per month.

Stormwater is the second piece of the project and will cost about $816,320. It will be financed over 15 years through 75 percent of the sales tax that was passed. This leaves the other 25 percent of that tax to address stormwater on streets other than Georgia.

Water distribution is the third piece of the project. It is estimated to cost $915,090 and financed over 18 years. This is also an enterprise activity that must be funded through user rates and not taxes. The estimated rate impact is $4.53/user per month.

All three of the infrastructure pieces have operational lifespans of over 40 years.

The final piece of the project is the street and ADA-compliant sidewalk. This work is estimated to cost $1,996,900 with an operational lifespan of more than 25 years. It will be financed through 85 percent of the stormwater sales tax over 20 years. This leaves $30,000 per year in new revenues to address other streets in town.

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