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Application process for Denham Springs property buyout program 'moving along well'

2 months 5 days 1 hour ago Wednesday, September 28 2022 Sep 28, 2022 September 28, 2022 10:08 AM September 28, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

DENHAM SPRINGS - A program aimed at reverting a portion of Denham Springs from developed land back into green space is moving along well, according to city officials.

The Spring Park Buyout Program was introduced to property owners and tenants in Denham Springs in November 2021. Applications have been sent out all year long and 12 more were sent out just last week for those homeowners to apply for the program, which city officials say has been moving along pretty quickly.

The flooding in 2016 hit Spring Park hardest out of the surrounding area, flooding dozens of homes near North River Road and the First Baptist Church on Centerville Street, but the state awarded Denham Springs $10 million through the Louisiana Watershed Initiative for a voluntary buyout program.

The program offers property owners in flood-prone areas 100 percent of the appraised value, which means they will buy their homes, demolish them, and plan to turn the area into a green space.

The green space would be beneficial to the City of Denham Springs as a water detention area. 

"Depending on how much we get, it would be nice to have a larger presence at Spring Park," city mayor Gerard Landry said. "Make it something suitable for our citizens. We need to make sure that that park is gorgeous and beautiful, something our families can utilize and maybe even make it a tourist destination. Water detention is an option that we would have. There's a possibility for some federal funding that would help us to convert that."

Landry says the city will not force homeowners to apply for the program, which means they can keep their homes and they won't be demolished, but Landry says it's an offer they shouldn't pass up.

"How often is it that you're able to get 100 percent market value and you can just walk away? And they'll take care of any liens and tax liens or anything else that you have left, they will pay those off for you and subtract it from your proceeds and you can walk away and they'll tear your house down."

The Spring Park area included in the buyout program has 107 properties and 47 property owners. Mayor Landry says it's a years-long project but has hopes to see some demolishing start sometime after Christmas.

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