(Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 10:50 PM
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.