YOUNGSVILLE — The major flooding issues in and around Youngsville might be a thing of the past if the city gains federal funding to improve drainage in the city and the surrounding municipalities.
Pamela Granger, senior project manager at CH2M HILL, an engineering firm with offices in Baton Rouge, informed the council she has been in contact with Mark Wingate, chief of the projects and restoration branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to discuss tapping into a potential funding source.
“In July, I contacted (Wingate) because I’ve worked on projects before where we used PAS (Planning Assistance to States) money,” Granger said. “He said not only is there funding but he said he would love to do something in this area.”
She said Wingate told her the agency had done some storm-relief work in the Youngsville area in 2007 and 2010, setting a foundation for future projects.
Granger said she scheduled a meeting with Wingate and initially thought she would meet with him in New Orleans and learn about the process. Wingate, however, met with her in Youngsville.
“They wanted to come here and meet with the folks in the area,” Granger said. “We met in City Hall on Aug. 26, and we contacted other mayors and local representatives.”
The meeting included representatives from Youngsville, Scott and Broussard. Wingate offered a new type of funding to the group: Silver Jackets Flood Risk Management Pilots Program, which provides funding strictly for drainage and flood management.
“It is not taken from money that they use for big projects like coastal restoration,” Granger said. “This is specifically for this, and oftentimes it goes unrequested.”
This year, Congress approved a bill to increase the Silver Jackets funding from $10 million to $30 million nationwide.
“We don’t often see an increase in federal spending,” Granger said. “That just shows you that there are a lot of communities and states that are in the same position that we are in.”
Granger said the top choice for funding in Louisiana would be Youngsville, and Wingate will submit the funding request this month.
Councilman Ken Ritter, who is unopposed to become Youngsville’s next mayor in November, gave his full support to the project.
“We have had a lot of discussion about flooding, and there is more that we can do with drainage,” Ritter said. “I want to hit the ground running with this.”