Nixon Adams, chairman of St. Tammany Parish Recreation District No. 1, recently was awarded the Robert M. Artz Advocate Award by the National Recreation and Park Association for more than 30 years of service to the Mandeville-area recreation district.

The award is presented to one person in the U.S. annually. Adams was chosen for his dedication to the district and to Pelican Park, the 230-acre park at its core. He was particularly commended for advancements, including reforestation, park planning, professional development, fiscal management, expansion of services, youth sports and involving more women in management positions.

Adams won the state Advocate award, then joined a national pool of candidates from which he was selected. He’s been on the local recreation board for more than 30 years, and chairman for the past 18 years.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Adams said. “The award is much sought after. It was a surprise to me. I don’t consider this work at all. To be out here, I have fun.”

Pelican Park director Kathy Foley said that in previous years, the Advocate award had gone to people who had donated large sums of money to recreation projects.

“In Nixon’s case, Nixon has gives his heart and countless hours of labor,” she said. “He was part of the first dream of this park and making it a reality.”

St. Tammany Parish Recreation District No. 1 serves the greater Mandeville area. Pelican Park has more than 1 million visitations per year, and the park features 33 athletic fields, seven courts of gym space, a dog park, skate park, a disc golf course and the 46,000-square-foot Castine Center, which hosts special events throughout the year.

U.S. 11 Bridge closed through Nov. 16 

Both directions of the U.S. 11 Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain will remain closed to vehicular traffic until midnight Nov. 16 while crews perform structural repairs.

Southbound traffic will be detoured to La. 433 (Old Spanish Trail) to I-10 westbound to U.S. 11. Northbound traffic will be detoured to I-10 eastbound to La. 433 (Old Spanish Trail) to U.S. 11.

Covington announces emergency response plan

Covington Mayor Mike Cooper announced last week that he had accepted a new plan to better coordinate emergency response and improve public notification about future flood events in the city.

Developed in response to the March 2016 event which triggered unprecedented flash flooding through the area, the plan provides a blueprint for organizing future efforts.

“This plan will serve as a critical input into how we swiftly respond to flash flooding situations with a focus on saving lives and protecting property in our community,” Cooper said.

The flood response plan includes components designed to aid in the city’s emergency response efforts such as assignment of responsibilities; communication protocols; information collection and dissemination; financial administration; and trigger points for plan activation.

As a final step in the development of this plan, Covington officials participated in a flood response exercise that included members of the core planning team such as local police, fire and public works staff, as well as the National Weather Service.

The city also has worked to preserve data captured during the March 2016 flood in a GIS format that can be used to inform future flood response efforts. In coming months, Covington residents will receive information in the mail that provides guidance on how to effectively plan for possible flooding and key actions to take during or following such events.

The development of the flood response plan was coordinated by Covington Building Official Chris Brown and was supported by The Water Institute of the Gulf, Innovative Emergency Management and Emergent Method. A $42,500 grant provided by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance as a 2017 Community Project for the Regional Coastal Resilience Grant Program paid for the study and required no monetary match from the city of Covington.

For more information or to view a copy of the completed flood response plan, email Brown at cbrown@covla.com.

Sexual harassment and ethics training

St. Tammany Parish Government recently hosted mandatory training sessions on sexual harassment and ethics training for parish agencies.

Seven sessions were offered at four locations, on different days in late October, and were conducted by parish employees who also are certified trainers. In addition to St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister and more than 400 additional parish employees, employees from the Covington Public Works Department, Parish Planning Commissioners, Parish Board of Adjustment members and St. Tammany Parish Council members attended the training.

State law requires public employees to complete one hour of ethics training and sexual harassment training per year. The ethics course has an online option, but the sexual harassment training does not. The parish's live training session was created by Adrienne Stroble, parish government's director of human resources.

Vianney Hall architects lauded

VergesRome Architects of New Orleans won an Award of Merit for renovation of the St. Joseph Abbey and Seminary College's Vianney Hall at the annual Design Competition conducted by the American Institute of Architects Louisiana Chapter (AIA LA).

The awards were given at the AIA LA Design Conference banquet held recently in New Orleans.

To prepare for anticipated increases in enrollment, monks at this seminary college decided to renovate and convert an existing 1960 midcentury modern dormitory into a residence hall with single rooms and baths.

The redesign created simple, energy-efficient and functionally adept rooms that are well-suited to contemporary use as housing for seminarians. The project preserved the campus’ historical 1958 architecture and National Register of Historic Places designation, thus earning renovation tax credits.

Road work continues on U.S. 190 in Covington

Alternating single lane closures on U.S. 190, between the I-12 Junction and the Bogue Falaya River Bridge (Claiborne Hill), will continue from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. until Nov. 15. 

Two lanes will remain open at all times, but traffic will be slowed as the work progresses. There will be no vehicle restrictions, and emergency vehicles will have access.