Moving Wildlife and Fisheries office will free up lakefront land

By By John Guidroz / American Press

The eventual move of the Region 5 Wildlife and Fisheries office from North Lakeshore Drive to property off Power Centre Parkway

will free up land for future development along the lakefront, Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said.

“That area is really a prime location,” he said Friday. “That office has been there for a long time, (and it) doesn’t fit

for our plan of lakefront development.”

The State Bond Commission on Thursday

approved $9 million to move the office — which Roach said was the last

step needed to

move the project forward. Several years ago, BP donated land

behind the Academy store on Derek Drive to use for the office’s

new location.

“We were working with the state for the last four or five years to get this done,” Roach said.

He said the new facility, to sit on 10 acres of land, will have extra space to store boats and other equipment and may include

a small wildlife exhibit.

The city is working to move the project

forward as quickly as possible, but Roach said it will take time before

any real work

begins. Wendell Smith, wildlife biologist supervisor, said it

could take at least one year for planning and another year for

construction.

“We have to go through selecting an architect and finalizing design plans,” Roach said. “It’s going to be a while before people

see dirt being turned.”

In the meantime, Roach said he has met with Robert Barham, secretary of the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, to

discuss temporarily moving some office equipment to the city Public Works Department on Broad Street.

Roach said there have been no discussions on what to do with the lakefront property once the office is relocated.

The Bond Commission approved $900,000

in Priority 2 funding and $8.1 in future Priority 5 funding. According

to House Bill

2, Priority 2 funding is used to complete plans and specifications

for certain projects, and Priority 5 money is awarded in

later fiscal years.