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Grosse Tete wins 'Best of Show' honors from LMA

Staff Report
The Village of Grosse Tete won the LMA’s 19th annual “Best of Show Award” for its “ReConnect Program.”

BATON ROUGE – On Tuesday, Nov. 9, in Baton Rouge, 14 Louisiana municipal governments – Brusly, Bunkie, West Monroe, Simmesport, Abbeville, Ruston, Jean Lafitte, Carencro, Sulphur, Woodworth, Gonzales, Gretna, Baton Rouge, and Grosse Tete  – took home Community Achievement Awards, the Louisiana Municipal Association's most prestigious award for outstanding municipal improvements and accomplishments in the categories of Community Development, Economic Development, Technology and Connectivity, and Basic Services.

The top honors of the night went to the Village of Grosse Tete, who took home the LMA’s 19th annual “Best of Show Award” for its “ReConnect Program.”

Investing in connectivity is a big idea for a small town that pays dividends for many years. Grosse Tete needed a serious upgrade to their broadband capabilities. They rolled up their sleeves and worked with Star Communications to successfully beat 146 other applicants for a USDA grant in the amount of $7.75 million and a matching USDA loan of $7.75 million, for a total of $15.5 million to be used for building and expanding broadband access in their community. Their work not only supports thousands of residences, but 13 educational facilities, two healthcare centers, and eight critical community facilities over a 136 square mile area.

“When you’re a small municipality with only 675 people in it and you get an award like this, it is a great honor,” said Grosse Tete mayor Michael Chauffe. “This organization is premier and if you don’t belong to it, you need to.”

The LMA's annual awards program recognizes municipalities for outstanding achievement in basic services, community development, and economic development. Within these categories, awards are presented in four population subcategories.

We know how important this particular event is,” said John Gallagher, LMA Executive Director. “We all refer to it as the Oscars for municipalities because it really does recognize the achievements of our municipal governments.”

Entries submitted were judged by a committee of judges from Louisiana Economic Development, Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association, Capital Region Planning Commission, the Louisiana Main Street, and the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshall.

The award winners and honorable mention in each category and population group are as follows:

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CATEGORY

Recognizes outstanding achievements during the 2019 calendar year in public transportation, citizen participation, public buildings, main street improvements, development plans, parks and recreation, beautification, promotion of community projects, strategic planning, or cultural enrichment.

Population 3,000 and under:

Winner:

  • Town of Brusly – Bike Brusly and Bike Share Program

Honorable Mention:

  • Town of Cheneyville – Grimble/Crittle Walking Trail
  • Town of Sarepta – New Playground Equipment Investment

Population 3,001 to 10,000:

Winner:

  • City of Bunkie – Move Bunkie Forward

Honorable Mention:

  • City of Kaplan – Charles P. Morrison Pavilion
  • City of Patterson – Morey Park Parking Lot

Population 10,001 to 25,000:

Winner:

  • City of West Monroe – Development of the Blue Star Memorial Gardens

Honorable Mention:

  • City of Baker – Little Free Library
  • City of Bogalusa – Bogalusa Strong: A Healthy Community Program

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CATEGORY

Recognizes outstanding achievements during the 2019 calendar year in industrial development, industrial parks, location/expansion of business and/or industries, tourism, community promotion, or workforce development.

Population 3,000 and under:

Winner:

  • Town of Simmesport – Simmesport Financial & Infrastructure Recovery Plan

Population 3,001 to 10,000:

Winner:

  • City of Abbeville – Chris Crusta Memorial Airport Terminal Building Renovation Project

Honorable Mention:

  • City of Port Allen – Centennial Park
  • Town of Welsh – Ground Water Storage Tank Project

Populations 10,001 to 25,000:

Winner:

  • City of Ruston – Ruston Sports Complex

Honorable Mention:

  • City of Pineville – 5th Saturday Market on Main

BASIC SERVICES CATEGORY

Recognizes outstanding achievements during the 2019 calendar year in water, sewer, streets, drainage, municipal buildings, fire, police, emergency services, municipal management, solid waste management, recycling, or communication systems.

Population 3,000 and under:

Winner:

  • Town of Jean Lafitte – Hurricane Isaac Drainage Improvements Project

Honorable Mention:

  • Town of Athens – Wastewater Treatment Plant Replacement
  • Town of Mangham – Sewer Lift Pumps Repair Project

Population 3,001 to 10,000:

Winner:

  • City of Carencro – Andre Street Drainage & Utility Project

Honorable Mention:

  • City of St. Gabriel – Sunshine Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • City of Scott – Drainage Improvement Plan

Population 10,001 to 25,000:

Winner:

  • City of Sulphur – Verdine Water Plant Upgrade

TECHNOLOGY AND CONNECTIVITY CATEGORY

Recognizes outstanding achievements during the 2019 calendar year in the expansion of broadband, marketing, image campaigns, websites, e-newsletters, local access channels, communication programs, or proliferation of technology essentials.

Population 3,000 and under:

Winner:

  • Town of Woodworth – Town-wide Technology Upgrades

Population 3,001 to 10,000:

Winner:

  • City of Gonzales – Leveraging Technology to Improve Wastewater Treatment

Honorable Mention:

  • Town of Richwood – Park Restoration Image Campaign

Population 10,001 to 25,000:

Winner:

  • City of Gretna – Promoting Image and Marketing Through Adoption of a Unified Development Code

Population 25,001 and over:

Winner:

  • City of Baton Rouge – Public Safety Common Operational Platform