Local entities forced to change agreement for trailer park near Sowela

By By John Guidroz / American Press

Three local entities wanting to split a $1.7 million property bill to build an educational building across from Sowela Technical

Community College are having to change their agreement because the project calls for using $20 million in state grants.

Randy Robb, director of the Chennault

International Airport Authority, told committee members on Thursday that

the buy-sell

agreement between Chennault, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and

the Lake Charles City Council is being changed into an “option

agreement.” He said the three entities now have to pay 3 percent

of the property’s value, or roughly $17,000, to the seller.

The funds are included in the purchase price if the sale goes

through.

The 13 acres of property would be used

to build a $20 million educational building to prepare for the expanding

workforce

once the multibillion Sasol expansion project in Westlake begins.

The land is currently occupied by residents at the Chennault

Mobile Village trailer park.

Robb said his main concern with delaying the agreement is that it frustrates people living in the trailer park and the property

owners.

“I expected to have already bought the (property) by now,” he said. “We started the negotiations (around) October when everybody

agreed to do this. Here we are in July, and we are no further along than we were on day one.”

Once the property is purchased, Robb said the state will conduct an environmental survey that should take 90 days, including

a 30-day comment period.

“After that, then the state has 90 days under the Uniform Relocation Act to relocate the trailers,” he said.

Once the property is sold, it will be

transferred to the state. The state can then assign the property to the

Louisiana Community

and Technical College System.

Chennault’s full board is set to discuss the issue at a meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.