Sorrento plans special civic center session

Mary-Glenn Smith

Sorrento plans special civic center session

SORRENTO - The Town Council Tuesday night discussed its options regarding the Ascension Civic Center, with councilmen initially pondering the issue of leasing the building from the School Board.

In previous years, the school board has let the town use the civic center for events such as the Boucherie Festival.

The board is planning to use the center to store supplies and make it a warehouse if Sorrento does not lease it.

Last month, Mayor Blake LeBlanc along with other members of council attended a school board meeting and asked them to draw up a lease on the Ascension Civic Center. In return the school board asked the town for a proposal on how they would pay for the lease of the civic center.

LeBlanc said he also met with the Louisiana Municipal Association to the discuss the costs and terms of the lease, and council members agreed they would hold a special meeting April 12 to discuss their response to the board proposal.

Several other issues dealing with the Ascension Civic Center were discussed Tuesday.

 One issue was the need for a new roof on the building, as it has not been replaced since the building opened in 1983. Council members questioned the quality of the current roof, costs of patching and repairs, and even possible construction of a new roof. They questioned if the costs were within the town’s budget if they chose to lease the building from the school board.

 Councilman Milton “Needlenose” Vicknair suggested that the older civic center may be too big and old for the town’s needs.

 The suggestion of building a recreation center on property the town already owns also came up.

After much deliberation on the topic, council members voted to hold the special meeting to evaluate the issues with leasing the Ascension Civic Center more thoroughly. The meeting, which will also cover improvements to the town’s sewer system, will be at 6 p.m. at the Sorrento Town Hall.

Council members also voted unanimously to approve the construction of a new fence around the Braud Street lift station. The new fence will cost $2, 690 to build and is expected to last 25-30 years, LeBlanc said.

The fence that currently surrounds the lift station is 15 years old and made of wood. LeBlanc said the fence has been repaired many times and is now beyond repair.

The new fence will be 6-foot high and made of sheet metal. It will be stronger against hurricanes because the posts will be deeper than with the old fence and the metal will be screwed in rather than nailed in like the wood of the old fence, according to the mayor.

In an unrelated matter, council members also voted to approve two different agreements negotiated with Renaissance Development Group, the developer of the newly annexed Orange Grove.

The first agreement stated the Renaissance Development Group will pay the Town of Sorrento a set amount $150,000 by June 2011, regardless of the number of lots sold. Renaissance will pay the town $12,500 from the sale of lots 350, 351, 352, and 353. They will also pay Sorrento $2,500 from the sale of the remaining lots sold in the second phase of the development.

In the second part of the resolution, Renaissance Development Group requested that Sorrento will no longer own the water system. The sewer system in Orange Grove will stay the same and must comply with all other standards.