Kenner is looking at flush times, Mayor Mike Yenni told the crowd at his annual State of the City speech on Tuesday, crediting a $9.3 million oil spill settlement with BP and a new terminal being built soon at Louis Armstrong International Airport.
Yenni’s administration hasn’t outlined how it will use the money from the BP settlement, a portion of which will go to cover attorneys’ fees. But he assured his listeners that the money will be “put to good use as we reshape (the city) for generations to come.”
Meanwhile, once the $650 million North Terminal construction project at New Orleans-owned Armstrong Airport in Kenner is done, the city will receive a share of an estimated economic impact of $1.7 billion, Yenni said.
“That economic engine will give Kenner the much-needed funds to imagine even bigger (things),” Yenni said during an event hosted by the Kenner Business Association at Chateau Country Club.
Yenni, who is running to become Jefferson Parish president in the Oct. 24 primary, declared, “If you live, work and play in Kenner, you are safe; you are sound; you are strong.”
Yenni did not take sole credit for either the BP settlement or the new terminal, which should be completed by 2018.
He said Kenner Councilman and former City Attorney Keith Conley’s decision to file suit against BP after the oil spill was responsible for the BP money. And he pinned the airport project on a positive relationship New Orleans has maintained with Kenner.
Nonetheless, Yenni suggested that the settlement money and the new airport terminal would help make his oft-touted “Kenner 2030” plan to refurbish the city’s major corridors a reality.
Other parts of the mayor’s speech — and an accompanying video presentation — cited progress Yenni said has already been made on Kenner 2030.
A planned upscale shopping center at the northwest corner of Joe Yenni and Williams boulevards is under development. A $12 million first phase anchored by a fitness gym could be completed in the spring on an 8-acre site at the busy intersection that has been vacant for some time, frustrating city officials.
Other parts of the Kenner 2030 plan are much further off. For example, the plan envisions eventually building a boardwalk-style district with hotels, condominiums, shops, offices and entertainment venues on land overlooking Lake Pontchartrain. Still, Yenni said, that section of Kenner — known as Laketown — showed its potential when it hosted a well-attended pro volleyball tournament in May.
Yenni also made it a point to highlight more basic improvements to city services that are in the works. Among them is a $16.6 million project to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant on Veterans Memorial Boulevard near the St. Charles Parish line.
It is the last piece of an overhaul to Kenner’s sewer system that dates back to 2004, when the state Department of Environmental Quality cited the city for repeated overflows in the system. The city has said the overhaul should be done by the end of 2016.