Corps wants to hear from public about flood problems

by Chris Rosa

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be in Abbeville on Thursday and they want to hear the public’s ideas about solving the flooding problems of Vermilion Parish.

On Thursday at 6 p.m., a first-of-its kind public meeting will be held at Abbeville High School.

“The main purpose of the meeting is to get input from the public on what the public sees as far as hurricane protection and coastal restoration. What projects are needed in Vermilion Parish,” said Police Jury President Gerald Butaud.

“I think it is very important that we have as many people as possible at the meeting. It is not too often you have a chance to speak directly with the people from the Corps of Engineers. We have the opportunity to tell them how we feel.”

Here is the agenda:

• 6 p.m. to 6:30 is an open house.

• At 6:30 p.m., introductions will be held until 7 p.m.

• From 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., small public groups will be formed to throw out and discus ideas on the flood problems of south Vermilion Parish.

• From 7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., the reports on the group session will be held.

• Starting at about 8:20 to 8:50 a question and answer session with the Army Corps of Engineers will take place. The meeting is expected to conclude at 9 p.m.

Sherrill Sagrera, an avid fighter against coastal erosion in the parish, said, “This is a time to speak up and let the state and the Corps know your ideas, concerns and questions. Without your input, the state and Corps will move forward with projects and it will become harder and harder to incorporate your ideas or concepts in the future without delaying the time-frame. Delays are not an option.”

Vermilion Parish has been hit twice in three years by storm surges from two different hurricanes located many miles away from the parish coastline.

The storm surges caused flooding along the parish coastline and flooded homes as far north as Abbeville on Pine Street.

The two storm surges (Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike) flooded more than a 1,000 total homes, causing more than a million dollars worth of property and agriculture damages.

The Police Jury is also expected to submit its parish plan to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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