Right-of-way issue delays Plaquemine city project

Staff Report

A right-of-way issue has put a snag in plans to start work on property adjacent to the Plaquemine Depot Market.

Most of the property is owned by Union Pacific Railroad, except for a right-of-way, Mayor Ed Reeves Jr. said.

Kyle’s Express was on the railroad lot, Reeves said. He said he was not certain how the building was ever constructed on that site, due to the Union Pacific ownership.

He said he plans to meet with officials from Union Pacific Railroad to resolve the issue.

Plaquemine Mayor Ed Reeves

“I don’t think they’ll back away from the idea, I think we’ll make it happen, but we haven’t been successful with that yet,” he said. “We’re ready to go with the project, but we’re just waiting on the railroad.”

Plans for the site include landscaping, parking, restrooms and an extended overhang from the Depot Market for outdoor functions, such as flea markets, arts and crafts sales or a farmer’s market.

Reeves negotiated purchase of the property in 2019 and had the old Kyle’s building demolished in December of that year, with approval from the Board of Selectmen.

The Board of Selectmen approved a $100,000 purchase from property owner Kyle White. The deal came to fruition about a year after the city made its initial offer for the location.

The building – at least 70 years old – has been dormant several years and has become an eyesore for incoming traffic from La. 1 southbound just past Bayou Plaquemine.

The abandoned store served more than 40 years as the location for Dickie’s Sportsman, a grocery store and bait shop.

The building originally housed a Rambler car dealership in what was the first endeavor for the late Price LeBlanc, who would later launch several successful auto dealerships in Ascension and East Baton Rouge parishes.