Ribbon cutting for housing project held in Plaquemine

ELLIE HEBERT, for The City of Plaquemine
CEREMONIES…Special Ribbon Cutting ceremonies were held last week at the home of Augustine Jordan as the City of Plaquemine housing project program completed the construction recently on Annex Street. Shown in the photo are Mayor Mark “Tony” Gulotta and Selectmen Jimmie Randle and Mickey Rivet. The homes are located in Randle’s district. The ceremonies at each house also included a prayer by evangelist Shauna Johnson.

Annex Street in Plaquemine looks very different now than it did five years ago, when a December five destroyed three homes and others were in various states of disrepair.

Now, seven homeowners – elderly and disabled residents – are enjoying their brand new homes built with a $600,000 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant  (LCDBG) funded through the La. Division of Administration.

The city applied for and received the grant in 2006, but construction didn’t start until mid-2008 due to a variety of factors including hurricanes. “The grant application had to demonstrate that a 1 to 2 block area had a significant enough number of sub-standard homes, the homes had to be owner-occupied with low to moderate income residents,” said Roberto Macedo, grant administrator for the city. “This was a grant for housing replacement, rather than housing rehabilitation.”

The city build two 4-bedroom homes, two 2-bedroom homes, and three 3-bedroom homes, each at a price of $78,000. Two Plaquemine contractors were the low bidders on the homes – Williams Brothers Construction and Gauthreaux Builders.

“This has been a big boost to these families and to Annex Street,” said Selectman Jimmie Randle, who represents the district. “These homes are modern and efficient, and will keep their home ownership costs down while improving the neighborhood.”

Mayor Tony Gulotta commented that the City is proud to participate in such housing programs, including Habitat for Humanity. “There is a significant need in our community.  It is hoped that further housing projects can be made available with the Hurricane Gustav/Ike Recovery funding in the future,” Mayor Gulotta said.

The city accepted the final three homes as substantially completed at its October meeting, and all of the homeowners have now moved into the new residences. Ribbon cutting to celebrate the last homeowners moving into their homes was held on November 6.