Council approves Canes' sponsorship

Leslie D. Rose @Editor_Citizen

The city's new dog park, located near Jambalaya Park, has received approval to gain a Raising Canes sponsorship.

The chicken finger giant will take on the naming rights for the park, post signage and have its name posted at all special events, including an invitation to participate in events, and host its own in conjunction with the city. Additionally, Raising Canes will have a mural painted at the park. The agreement began on June 1 and will expire on May 31, 2026, unless sooner terminated in accordance with provisions in the agreement.

Other general business included the naming of the city's official journal - theWeekly Citizen, and choosing to renew the contract with Postlewaithe & Netterville for financial audit services over the next three years.

Minutes were accepted for the regular council meeting, held May 23, and for the Zoning Commission meeting and hearings held June 6. In regards to the public hearings held by the Zoning Commission, the council considered the request of resident Donnie Calloway to rezone the 7.54 acre Tract A-1-B-1-B situated on the east side of S. Burnside Ave., along Bayou Francois from its existing C-1 Zone to a C-2 zone. Councilman Neal Bourque said that he didn't feel that council was given enough preparation yo make a decision and noted that there is some parish sewage work needed. While he said he has nothing against the rezoning, he motioned to hold approval until the parish digs a necessary ditch and agrees to maintain said ditch. Calloway was present during the motion, along with former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who agreed to the terms as long as he wasn't asked to do the shoveling,he joked.

Another public hearing item from the Zoning Commission was put before the council regarding the request of the J. Rosemary Bell Estate to rezone approximately four acres of the estate, known as Lot 12, situated on the north side of W. Worthey St., from its existing R-8 Zone to an R-3-NC Zone. A motion for approval passed and a final vote will be held in two weeks.

Final votes were passed on two items - a DMV agreement and hay bailing regulations.

Discussions were held on a few items including Point Andrew Final Plat, which received approval contingent on the arrival and implementation of a lift station. If the terms are not abided by, permits will not be dispersed for the project's continuation. The Council also agreed to support a BRAC resolution for a rail line to travel between New Orleans and Orlando, Fla. The council was asked to consider the resolution as Gonzales is a stop along the proposed line from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. Council made a motion to approve a final plat for Verdad Real Estate, Inc. at I-10 and La. 30. The new street will be called Picante St.

City engineer Jackie Baumann presented the low bid for the pump station and force main project. The city's estimate for the services was $3.5 million, The council accepted the low bid of $3,653,318 given by Wharton-Smith, Inc. per Baumann's request. In her engineering report, Baumann updated the council that the waterline extension project has begun. In road projects, she advised that the Cornerview project has received approval to begin right-of-way. She also said that testing has begun on the local road rehabilitation project. Additionally, Baumann submitted a grant application requesting design funds for the train depot.

In his public works report, Alvin Broussard advised the council that work on the old Ascension College remodeling has been stalled due to the finding of asbestos, The asbestos must be removed before work can continue.

During the presentation of residents, Denise Gary, advised council that she is in the process of opening a preschool for autistic children. Gary has acquired a physical address and submitted a 501(c)3 application to the IRS.

Also during the Gonzales resident segment, Kennedy Heights resident Joann Robinson aired a laundry list of concerns. She began her address in bullet points with issues ranging from homeowners not caring for their rental properties to what she believes to be a secret agenda to turn her neighborhood into a 'ghetto' in regards to high crime and trash.

"This is a hard one, even for me," Robinson said. "I do believe there is a private agenda for Kennedy Heights, because ever since big business has moved in, they're trying to make it an inner city ghetto, or whatever."

Robinson continued that the area is being trashed and that she expects for the city to do something about it. Mayor Barney Arceneaux agreed that the city will take action on the uncleanness issue and Chief Sherman Jackson spoke to her crime concerns.

"There were five vehicle burglaries on the street, however the main thing is people have to help themselves - lock their doors," Jackson said. "What I recommend is to help us - I can assure you that we are doing everything in our power to protect you and keep you safe."

Jackson also noted that each of the five vehicle burglaries were on cars with unlocked doors, as no forced entry was made on any of the vehicles.

President of the Gonzales Committee of Cultural Affairs, Karen Hatcher, gave a report and presentation on the recent trip to Meylan, France, which councilman Harold Stewart attended. The trip was part of the 30th anniversary of what is called the Jumelage, in which, this year, 14 delegates represented Gonzales and the United States in the French Alps city, Meylan - a twin city of Gonzales.

"I learned a lot in a short time," Stewart said. "It's just amazing, those ten days were life-changing for me."

In efforts to keep twinning, delegates from Meylan - which has two other twin cities, Planegg, Germany and Didcot, England - will visit Gonzales next year.

The next meeting of the Gonzales City Council will be held at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 27 to accommodate Mayor Arceneaux's Louisiana Municipal Association conference schedule.