With sections of 25th Street and its sidewalk breaking off and sliding into the adjacent canal, the Gretna City Council has decided to use $250,000 to jump-start a repair project council members say needs to begin moving forward as soon as possible.
The roughly $4 million job has been on the city’s list of projects vying for state capital outlay money, but despite being highly rated, it has not gotten any matching funds in the latest rounds.
On Thursday, the council voted to take $250,000 from its capital funds, which are typically used to match state and federal money, and use it to pay for the engineering and design phase of the four-part project.
Hopefully, having it shovel-ready will help to secure the funding for the first phase when the Legislature meets next summer, Councilman Mark Miller said.
“We just really want to get it moving,” said Miller, whose district includes the half-mile stretch of road. “It’s needed repairs for so long.”
The project would resurface the street between the Hero Canal and the Belle Chasse Highway, stabilize the canal bank and cover the canal, which Miller said would allow for the addition of greenery, benches, a median and other aesthetic improvements.
“It would create a totally different landscape for that area,” he said.
It’s too early to say how long it might take to complete the project, but Miller said it likely will be done in four phases. The first would be from Hero Drive to Rose Drive for $1.8 million; the second from Rose to Huey P. Long Avenue for $1.1 million; the third from Lafayette Street to Belle Chasse Highway for $350,000; and the last from Huey P. Long to Lafayette for $710,000.
Miller said the section between Stafford Street and Rose is “terrible” and the curb has broken off into the canal between Claire Avenue and Hero. The ground is washing out from under where the sidewalks cross over the canal.
The project was one of four prioritized by the city at a meeting last week. The top-rated request was for $3.1 million for five downtown drainage projects to alleviate flooding.
The second priority was the 25th Street reconstruction project, with a $3.8 million request. The third was a $6.8 million request for renovations to the aging City Hall building. The fourth was $6.7 million for a new Lafayette Street fire station.
The city will submit the list to the state later this year in advance of the legislative session next summer.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder