LAFAYETTE, LA — The Lafayette Consolidated Government now has $53M to spend on drainage projects within the city.
Seven million of those dollars were acquired Tuesday night when the council agreed with Mayor-President Joel Robideaux’s veto.
That portion is available to spend right now, and a different solution is being discussed that has never been seen before.
“This is new to the area,” said Mayor-President Joel Robideaux. It’s a new solution to a familiar problem.
The City-Parish Council granted Robideaux the full amount of money he budgeted next year for drainage.
The $7M taken from Louisiana Avenue is ready to spend and plans are already being made.
“One of the things that keep coming up is where the best detention ponds would be located up and down the different laterals,” shared Robideaux.
When the water rise like it did in 2016, it needs a place to go. Lafayette’s mayor president says the city is considering digging retention ponds in open fields next to coulees, “We have 660 miles worth of coulees and a lot of those are adjacent to an empty land, and we should utilize that in the best way possible to hold as much water as possible.”
Where previous solutions have tried to make sure water flows as quickly to the Vermilion River as possible, these retention ponds would hold hundreds of thousands of gallons of water when the coulees overflow their banks, and the retention ponds would drain back into the coulees when the water levels lower.
Robideaux says not to expect these any time soon because research has just begun to find the best place possible, “It takes a lot of planning to put them in the right spots that will have the most impact, and when I say the most impact, I mean saving the most homes.”
Robideaux did mention the other $46M is not ready to spend yet. It will be bonded within the next couple of years.
He also listed a few long term projects that could take the full funding by themselves. Those include Bayou Carencro, Isaac Verot Coulee, Anselm Coulee, Coulee Des Poches, but that list certainly is not exhaustive. Mayor Robideaux said more money may be needed once future projects are determined.
Spot dredging of the Vermilion River will come from a different fund. Next year’s budget allotted $5M to start researching the most effective way to tackle the issue.