Gov.’s play controls complex’s game plan

Gov. Bobby Jindal is a frequent visitor to Terrebonne Parish. During appearances ranging from business photo opportunities to luncheon speeches, the governor identifies this region as a vital player for Louisiana’s future.

This week the governor is faced with a decision that would show if he has game to back-up his locker room speeches or if he will take a fall for a few affluent voters with deep pockets.

While public interest mounts for a proposed multi-use youth sports complex located next to The Lakes subdivision on La. Highway 311 in Houma, the governor has a decision to make between signing legislation that could ensure a needed real estate transaction, or veto the bill to satisfy opponents that simply do not want the facility in their backyards.

HB-1117, authored by state Rep. Robert Billiot (D-Westwego), supports public-private deal making provisions. The bill would ensure Terrebonne Parish government the ability to trade seven acres it owns on Martin Luther King Boulevard for an initial 140 acres, owned by the Bollinger and Danos families, inside The Lakes.

A veto of the bill could cancel a potential multi-million dollar economic boost for the area.

Youth sports insiders claim a single weekend tournament could generate close to $500,000 of outside dollars being spent at local restaurants, hotels and retail outlets.

Some Lakes residents argue that a sports complex would create an intrusion of traffic and noise to their exclusive McMansion subdivision lifestyles. Others claim that a facility that would include baseball and softball diamonds, soccer fields and a water park would decrease their property values.

Opponents making any public appearances during open parish committee and council meetings have been lacking, indicating how it is easier to cast stones from behind gated walls than be part of a team effort.

We cheer the Bollinger and Danos families for wanting to play ball in what could not only be a quality of life benefit for area youths and an economic boost for the region, but could also showcase an attractive area of Terrebonne Parish as a calling card for other families and businesses looking to improve their lives.

We cheer residents like David Rabalais, who as the parent of a child in organized sports, recognized an opportunity for the community at large and individually campaigned to bring others onboard with his field of dreams.

We encourage area residents to consider the genuine value of enhancing community appeal with a team spirit attitude.

We call on Gov. Jindal to make the right call.