Coming together

Ascension Parish officials, State officials, City of Gonzales and City of Donaldsonville officials joined together to break ground for a new governmental complex in Gonzales.

Livingston has one, St. James has one and certainly East Baton Rouge Parish has one. Well finally the time has come for Ascension Parish to join in with the rest and construct a centralized governmental complex.

During a groundbreaking on Wednesday, Aug. 27 along East Worthey Road on the site of the demolished East Ascension Hospital in Gonzales, Ascension Parish officials officially gave SBS Construction the go ahead to begin constructing a nearly $6.5 million, 33,500-square foot complex.

Parish President Tommy Martinez said this is something that “we’ve been looking forward to for a couple years now.”

The majority of the money, a little bit over $5 million, actually came from the East Ascension Hospital board. President Martinez said when the board was decommissioned it had that in the bank and turned it over to the parish and said do something that would be productive for Ascension Parish.

 “I can’t think of anything else except to build something on this site to serve the people,” President Martinez said.

The rest of the construction’s bill is being footed by tax collections from the Methanex plant that the parish saved as an incentive for rebate for the company. The sales taxes that were put away became available when Methanex decided it would not seek the parish rebate, instead preferring state incentives.

With those two funding sources, in about a year Ascension Parish residents will be able to have all of their needs met under one roof, something the parish has been wanting for some time, but more importantly needed.

Parish council chairman Randy Clouatre said this is a great day in Ascension Parish added this building is long overdue.

“We have folks spread out all over the parish,” Clouatre said. “People are coming here because we have good schools, good law enforcement, good fire department and honest government. We need to deliver a service to the people that are here and that are coming.”

“On behalf of all the parish council we are glad to see this groundbreaking and we also have expansion capabilities within these grounds,” Clouatre said. “This is just a good thing and I can’t wait to see it get built.”

The purpose of the construction is to increase efficiency by bringing multiple departments of the parish into one building and under one roof. This will make it easier for day-to-day operations for parish employees as well as serve the parish residents.

President Martinez didn’t forget to again dispel one rumor that circulates about the East Ascension High School senior’s pond jump.

 “I can assure you and reassure that will continue and hopefully it continues for years to come,” President Martinez said. “That’s just another service that will be here.”

President Martinez added, “The parish government is just following right along with the rest of the growth other entities have seen around the parish.”

SBS Construction outbid seven other companies with a $6.47 million bid that was approved in July.