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Jefferson Parish seeks public input for Bucktown Harbor development

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JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) -

Development for Bucktown Harbor is on the horizon, and Jefferson Parish is seeking input from the community about what they want to see done with the space.

On Wednesday afternoon, Bucktown Harbor was quiet, cloudy and a perfect spot for walkers and joggers. However, Jefferson Parish leaders want to see the space transformed into something more people would be willing to use.

Concerned community members listened closely to a presentation by Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken about what the possibilities are for the open space.

"Bucktown Marina has been a huge area of opportunity. We have not developed it. So this is a chance for people to give us their ideas about what they envision coming to life at this site," Van Vrancken said.

Van Vrancken said the parish leases the land for Bucktown Marina from the state for recreational purposes. The lease does not allow for the space to be developed into restaurants or bars, and many who attended the meeting want it to stay that way.

"I think if we have a well-planned preservation of the area so that it doesn't become overly developed, is basically what we would really like to see have happen," Jefferson Parish resident Larry Dziekan said.

Many say their main concern is the safety of the boats docked on the piers, especially during hurricane season.

"There's a lot of discussion as to things that might be proposed within the site that if we do have another event like God forbid Katrina, that some of those items could become projectiles that could impact the levee," Director of Waterfront Planning Scott Lagueux said.

Lagueux said they plan to speak with the levee board about how their plans will affect the levees.

Some people said they want to see development in parks and recreation, while others say they want to see more fishing piers.

"They're also really excited about hand-powered types of sports such as sea kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding," Lagueux said.

There is also talk of having a farmers market, which has a high approval rating on their online survey, but a mixed response during the presentation.

"I don't think we really need a farmers market, but you know, no high rises no fast development, just keep things kind of slow the way they are," Lagueaux said. 

Van Vrancken said a boardwalk is already being designed that will go on the outside of the marshy area for people to enjoy views of the lake and wildlife.

"Part of the specialty of the company that's helping us envision this space is that they are able to help us also match ideas with potential grant money," Van Vrancken said.

After the ideas are narrowed down, they will be presented to the Jefferson City council members, who will decide how to turn Bucktown Harbor into a magnet for waterfront recreation. 

Those who missed the meeting can submit their input here.

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