New entrance for I-10 business park

By Ken Grissom

ST. MARTINVILLE – Commercial Park East, the parish-owned business development behind Wal-Mart and Jackie Edgar Ford in Breaux Bridge, will have a Rees Street entrance thanks to some juggling of construction plans by the Parish Council this week.

The council, which met Tuesday, also approved an extra $6,000 for the annex building now taking shape behind the courthouse in St. Martinville.

In the first matter, the council OKed a change order allowing the contractor, M. Matt Durand LLC, to connect Commercial Park East Road with Enterprise Drive, the street that connects Jackie Edgar Ford to Rees Street.

“The acquisition of a small parcel of land from Jackie Edgar Ford will allow us to have three rather than two entrances to the commercial park as well as direct access to Rees Drive,” Parish President Guy Cormier told the council. “And we will still have a $52,000 underrun on the project.”

On the multi-phase courthouse project, Cormier reported that the extra $6,000 was needed to strengthen the frame of the new building, which will house the clerk of court, assessor and registrar of voters.

In an aside, Cormier said that phase two, renovation of the antebellum courthouse into courtrooms, judges’ chambers and prosecutors’ offices, would soon be going before state Facility Planning for review of the plans and specifications.

“I met with architect Glenn Angelle and we should have them in February,” Cormier said.

He said the parish has $200,000 in cash available to begin the courthouse renovation as soon as the current occupants can move out.

The judges and prosecutors will be temporarily housed at St. Martinville’s former Early Learning Center campus.

In other business, the council heard from the Rev. Darren Sophus of New Iberia about a mentor program currently operating in Iberia Parish schools.

Sophus urged the council to support expanding into St. Martin schools the Buddies Program, in which authorized volunteers spend an hour a week with problem students selected by the schools’ principals.

“Through consistency and a little bit of care, it makes a big difference (in the life of a child),” he said.

Parish President Cormier said District Attorney Phil Haney personally vouched for the program, and Cormier pledged his administration’s support.

No official action was called for, although the council did, coincidentally, approve a resolution proclaiming January 2009 National Mentoring Month in St. Martin Parish.

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