Dressen group to help distressed families

By By Eric Cormier / American Press

Like a knight in shining armor, riding

atop a steed to save the day for people in distress, Randy Dressen

announced to the

Lake Charles City Council that his nonprofit group was willing to

help relocate dozens of residents who will probably have

to move away from their homes to make way for a

multimillion-dollar education building near Chennault International

Airport.

Dressen told city officials during

Wednesday’s regular City Council meeting that Country Aire Mobile Home

Park and the Silver

Lining Foundation were going to take on the costs to move all

residents who qualify to Country Aire Mobile Home Park on La.

397.

“We have the park and can take people in,” Dressen said.

His comments followed concerns about the residents future living conditions expressed by District B City Councilwoman Luvertha

August.

She noted the proposed construction of Sowela Technical Community College’s workforce development building on 13 acres of

land across the street from the school is necessary. Lake Charles City Hall, the Chennault International Airport Authority

and the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury each plan to pay part of the $1.7 million property tab.

The land would then be given to the state, which is making $20 million available for the building’s construction.

Residents would have to move once the sale is complete.

“I got calls this week from people about this. Is anybody giving this any consideration?” August said. “Or is this ‘Too bad.

Goodbye, Joe, you gotta go’?”

Mayor Randy Roach acknowledged that the issue was one that needs to be addressed. “But we got to get this facility built,”

he said. “This will go a long way in securing our long-term future as a community.”

Dressen said he learned of the problem while reading Sunday’s edition of the American Press, which featured a front-page story on the proposed property sale and the plight of the residents.

A press release provided by Dressen during the meeting read: “We understand that all residents are in support of the project,

but are concerned about losing their community, their neighbors and the high cost of moving the mobile homes off the land.

The concerns about a negative personal impact on these residents could sway their opinions against the proposal.

“We believe this (plan to move

residents) is a win, win proposal for all involved. It allows the

residents to maintain their

community, the city to improve the economic development of the

area, and Country Aire is able to increase its resident community,

all at the same time.”

City Council members voted 7-0 in favor of moving forward with the land purchase.

The mobile-home park has 200 spaces

within a gated property. It includes a clubhouse, laundry facilities,

swimming pool, sporting

area and playground.

The Silver Lining Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works to help displaced families.

For more information on the group, call 512-922-2355.