Livingston Parish to build $45 million emergency response and evacuation center

LIVINGSTON — A massive 100,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose emergency response and evacuation center is coming to Livingston Parish, parish leaders announced on Wednesday.

The facility will be used as a staging center during natural disasters or other emergencies. It will provide essential housing for first responders, with the capacity to accommodate up to 500 individuals at any given time.

The new center will be built on 50 acres in Livingston, just south of Interstate 12 on Hwy. 63. The parish has a purchase agreement for the land and will begin building the project in the next six months, Sheriff Jason Ard said.

“The biggest benefit of all is to our citizens to be able to have this,” Ard said. “It’ll be really great to know that when we rescue someone in the first few hours of a storm that we have somewhere we can bring them and get them shelter as quickly as possible.”

WATCH: Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office Announcement

During the 2016 flood, crews moved families rescued from the floodwaters to different facilities due to the changing water levels. They also collaborated with churches and businesses to provide temporary shelter, posing a logistical challenge when every minute counted. This new facility will offer a safe haven for those affected by natural disasters, as well as first responders in need of accommodation.

“Anyone who was here in 2016 will understand how important this is and what a blessing this is to not only the sheriff’s department and first responders but to the people in Livingston Parish,” outgoing parish president Layton Ricks said. “This will give them some hope and comfort.”

Parish leaders noted that during previous natural disasters, first responders were often staged miles away from Livingston and have to drive in to begin work. They believe this new facility will

The site chosen is central for the entire parish, making it easily accessible for first responders from outside the area, as noted by Ard. The sheriff mentioned that they are also collaborating with Entergy and DEMCO to utilize the facility as a staging area for utility crews.

In addition to its capacity to house over 500 people, the facility will have seating for up to 5,000. Parish leaders emphasized that the multi-purpose building can serve various purposes when there is no active emergency.

Furthermore, facilities will be constructed to accommodate livestock that may need rescuing during a storm.

Incoming Parish President Randy Delatte said, “‘This parish will be able to do a lot of things with this building.”

The Louisiana legislature has approved the $45 million necessary to fund the construction of the evacuation center.

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