Amy Bouton

Tammany Trace in the Running for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s Prestigious National Hall of Fame

 

Fans of the Tammany Trace urged to support the rail-trail during a public voting period July 12-16; winner to be announced July 19.  

Our own Tammany Trace is one of three national rail-trail locations nominated for induction into the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s (RTC) National Hall of Fame.

The Tammany Trace will compete against Colorado’s Rio Grande Trail and Nevada’s Historic Railroad Trail to be the next Rail-Trail Hall of Fame inductee, a prestigious recognition that highlights the stellar value and excellence of the trail locally and nationwide. The winner will be announced July 19 after a public voting period from July 12-16. The Trace was selected by RTC as a Hall of Fame nominee based on merits such as scenic value, high use, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance, and community connections.

“The Tammany Trace is a significant asset to our wealth of natural and scenic resources here in our Parish,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “The honor of this nomination is wonderful, but I am asking all residents of St. Tammany, as well as anyone who uses and enjoys the Tammany Trace— no matter where you live— to take a minute to go and vote for the Trace and help us win this spot in the Rails-to-Trails Hall of Fame.”

“All three of the trails were nominated because they are the cream of the crop when it comes to trail options across the country,” said Keith Laughlin, RTC president. “It’s up to the users to show their support and pride for the trails and to help make their favorite the 31st rail-trail in the Hall of Fame.” 

In addition to an unveiling event, Hall of Fame inductees receive national publicity, trail signage and coverage in Rails to Trails magazine. As the largest trails organization in America, representing a community of more than 160,000 members and supporters and more than 850,000 trail users, RTC started recognizing Hall of Fame winners in 2007.  If selected, the Tammany Trace would join the 30 previous winners, including last year’s Hudson Valley Trail Network. More information about the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame and the opportunity to vote can be found on RTC's website.

Originally a corridor for the Illinois Central Railroad, the Tammany Trace is a hike and bike trail that meanders through several communities in St. Tammany Parish— Covington, Abita Springs, Mandeville , Lacombe and culminates in Slidell. A separate equestrian path parallels the Trace in several places. The Trace hosts more than 300,000 visitors per year from all over the United States and the world. St. Tammany Parish Government purchased the abandoned Illinois Central Railroad corridor on December 20, 1992. With the help of grants and federal dollars, St. Tammany Parish Government has asphalted 27.10 miles, remodeled railroad trestles into pedestrian bridges, and maintained the Trace. 

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization with more than 160,000 members and supporters, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines. RTC has field offices in Florida, Ohio, California and Pennsylvania. Connect with RTC at railstotrails.org and @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

St. Tammany Parish Government Demonstrates Good Stewardship of Taxpayer Dollars

St. Tammany Parish citizens are reaping the dividends from their Parish Government’s modernization over the last six years. Taxpayers will see an estimated $1.45M decrease in property taxes paid to run Parish Government in 2017, with the decision by Parish President Pat Brister and the Parish Council to keep taxes lower for residents.

Parish Government has changed and upgraded its use of technology, and realized efficiencies and cost savings through revamping its organizational structure. All while trying to keep pace with the Parish’s explosive growth, and the demands to do more with less.

“The responsibility and privilege of public service involves the good stewardship of taxpayer dollars, and as such we continue to work every day to fulfill that responsibility, and respect that privilege in every fiscal decision we make,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We will continue to provide services to our residents in the most efficient, cost-effective ways possible, and more importantly, to give our residents the most value for their tax dollars.”

For another year, ad valorem tax millage rates in St. Tammany Parish Government will remain at the rolled back rate adopted by the St. Tammany Parish Council. The estimated savings to taxpayers earned by keeping the millage rates in place, is estimated to be approximately $2.9 million over a two-year period.

The assessed ad valorem tax millage rate to run Parish Government is 7.25. These funds are allocated to general government, drainage maintenance, Public Health, and the St. Tammany Parish Animal Shelter.

Additionally, Parish Government, through responsible fiscal management, earned a Triple A (AAA) Bond rating from Standard and Poors in 2015, and continues to have one of the highest and most favorable bond ratings of Parish Governments in the State.

 

The St. Tammany Parish Council plans to adopt the resolution to establish these rates at the July 13, 2017 Parish Council Meeting.

Ochsner Health System to Revitalize Recently Closed Louisiana Heart Hospital

Lacombe, LA (JUNE 23, 2017) – Ochsner Health System (Ochsner) has reached an agreement to lease the recently closed Louisiana Heart Hospital property from Stirling Properties. Ochsner, working together with each of its partners, St. Tammany Parish Hospital (STPH) and Slidell Memorial Hospital (SMH), plans to repurpose the recently closed building to open a Post-Acute Care Hospital to include long-term acute care, skilled nursing and inpatient rehabilitation services in one convenient St. Tammany location. This effort will also result in job growth and expanded administrative services in the region by opening a dedicated North Shore Service Center.

“We are excited that this facility will once again be opened and provide much-needed medical services for our residents as well as jobs for our local health care workforce,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We appreciate Ochsner’s commitment to St. Tammany Parish, and we look forward to another leading-edge healthcare facility, providing high-quality medical care.”  

The new facility represents an opportunity that is the first of its kind in the parish. One that allows Ochsner, along with each of its partners, St. Tammany Parish Hospital and Slidell Memorial Hospital, to work together and more cost effectively integrate the full continuum of care for patients.  Along with increased access to more post-acute care services, this is better for patients because it connects them to a larger, organized network of care.

“With each of our partners, St. Tammany Parish Hospital and Slidell Memorial Hospital, we are deeply committed to the North Shore region and providing patients with increased access to post-acute care services close to where they live and work,” said Warner Thomas, President and CEO, Ochsner Health System. “Over the next five years, we expect to invest nearly $15 million to deliver new and innovative models of care while also growing jobs and expanding administrative services in St. Tammany.”

Over the next 12-18 months, Ochsner, working with its partners, plans to open a 30-bed long-term acute care unit to provide intense specialized care for patients with serious medical conditions; a 25-bed skilled nursing facility to provide highly skilled medical care for patients working through a short-term rehabilitation or for those suffering with a chronic condition who need longer-term care; a 30-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit for patients who need intensive rehabilitative care in an inpatient setting to help them regain the highest degree of independence; and an occupational rehabilitation area.

“Since we formed a strategic partnership with Ochsner in 2014, we have been able to add new services, expand and enhance oncology infusion services, launch a comprehensive Neuroscience program and open a thriving pediatric subspecialty clinic in Covington,” said Patti Ellish, CEO, St. Tammany Parish Hospital. “Our announcement today further illustrates Ochsner and St. Tammany Parish Hospital’s joint commitment to enhance access to quality healthcare services across the continuum of care.”

In addition to expanding healthcare services, the new facility will house a North Shore Service Center with a focus on non-patient care office functions, keeping vital back-office support jobs in St. Tammany Parish. Today, the organizations provide nearly 7,000 jobs in the parish, and with this addition, the potential to retain 190 jobs and add 125 more.

“Together, with Ochsner, we have been able to build upon our strengths at Slidell Memorial Hospital and Ochsner Medical Center – North Shore, bringing additional access, value, expertise and technology to our patients in east St. Tammany,” said Bill Davis, CEO, Slidell Market SMH-Ochsner Partnership. “Now, through each of our service district’s partnerships with Ochsner, we have the opportunity to make a significant investment in our community by offering critical post-acute care services, growing jobs and expanding administrative services on the North Shore.”

 

###

About Ochsner Health System
Ochsner Health System is Louisiana's largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 28 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and more than 50 health centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a "Best Hospital" across three specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 90 countries worldwide. Each year Ochsner employs more than 17,000 employees, nearly 1,100 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts nearly 1,000 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About St. Tammany Parish Hospital

A full-service acute care facility committed to providing world-class healthcare and the latest technology, St. Tammany Parish Hospital delivers today’s life-improving procedures with the utmost care to area residents with emphasis on wellness, preventive care and disease management close to home. STPH is recognized for quality, safety and the patient experience by Leapfrog, Hospital Compare, Healthgrades, CareChex and Women’s Choice. STPH is a self-supporting not-for-profit community hospital; it receives no ad valorem tax funding. Learn more at stph.org.

About Slidell Memorial Hospital

Slidell Memorial Hospital is a full-service 229-bed acute care not-for-profit community hospital located at 1001 Gause Blvd., in the heart of Slidell. The hospital’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our community. Founded in 1959, SMH serves as a primary healthcare resource for families in St. Tammany Parish, La.; and Pearl River County, Miss. The Slidell Memorial Hospital Regional Cancer Center also provides comprehensive care to patients across the Gulf Coast. Other SMH facilities include the SMH Imaging Center, SMH Heart Center and the SMH Sleep Center. For more information on all of SMH’s services, visit slidellmemorial.org. The hospital’s main phone number is (985) 280-2200.

Ochsner Health System to Revitalize Recently Closed Louisiana Heart Hospital

Lacombe, LA (JUNE 23, 2017) – Ochsner Health System (Ochsner) has reached an agreement to lease the recently closed Louisiana Heart Hospital property from Stirling Properties. Ochsner, working together with each of its partners, St. Tammany Parish Hospital (STPH) and Slidell Memorial Hospital (SMH), plans to repurpose the recently closed building to open a Post-Acute Care Hospital to include long-term acute care, skilled nursing and inpatient rehabilitation services in one convenient St. Tammany location. This effort will also result in job growth and expanded administrative services in the region by opening a dedicated North Shore Service Center.

“We are excited that this facility will once again be opened and provide much-needed medical services for our residents as well as jobs for our local health care workforce,” said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. “We appreciate Ochsner’s commitment to St. Tammany Parish, and we look forward to another leading-edge healthcare facility, providing high-quality medical care.”  

The new facility represents an opportunity that is the first of its kind in the parish. One that allows Ochsner, along with each of its partners, St. Tammany Parish Hospital and Slidell Memorial Hospital, to work together and more cost effectively integrate the full continuum of care for patients.  Along with increased access to more post-acute care services, this is better for patients because it connects them to a larger, organized network of care.

 

“With each of our partners, St. Tammany Parish Hospital and Slidell Memorial Hospital, we are deeply committed to the North Shore region and providing patients with increased access to post-acute care services close to where they live and work,” said Warner Thomas, President and CEO, Ochsner Health System. “Over the next five years, we expect to invest nearly $15 million to deliver new and innovative models of care while also growing jobs and expanding administrative services in St. Tammany.”

 

Over the next 12-18 months, Ochsner, working with its partners, plans to open a 30-bed long-term acute care unit to provide intense specialized care for patients with serious medical conditions; a 25-bed skilled nursing facility to provide highly skilled medical care for patients working through a short-term rehabilitation or for those suffering with a chronic condition who need longer-term care; a 30-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit for patients who need intensive rehabilitative care in an inpatient setting to help them regain the highest degree of independence; and an occupational rehabilitation area.

 

“Since we formed a strategic partnership with Ochsner in 2014, we have been able to add new services, expand and enhance oncology infusion services, launch a comprehensive Neuroscience program and open a thriving pediatric subspecialty clinic in Covington,” said Patti Ellish, CEO, St. Tammany Parish Hospital. “Our announcement today further illustrates Ochsner and St. Tammany Parish Hospital’s joint commitment to enhance access to quality healthcare services across the continuum of care.”

 

In addition to expanding healthcare services, the new facility will house a North Shore Service Center with a focus on non-patient care office functions, keeping vital back-office support jobs in St. Tammany Parish. Today, the organizations provide nearly 7,000 jobs in the parish, and with this addition, the potential to retain 190 jobs and add 125 more.

 

“Together, with Ochsner, we have been able to build upon our strengths at Slidell Memorial Hospital and Ochsner Medical Center – North Shore, bringing additional access, value, expertise and technology to our patients in east St. Tammany,” said Bill Davis, CEO, Slidell Market SMH-Ochsner Partnership. “Now, through each of our service district’s partnerships with Ochsner, we have the opportunity to make a significant investment in our community by offering critical post-acute care services, growing jobs and expanding administrative services on the North Shore.

###

About Ochsner Health System
Ochsner Health System is Louisiana's largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 28 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and more than 50 health centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a "Best Hospital" across three specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 90 countries worldwide. Each year Ochsner employs more than 17,000 employees, nearly 1,100 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts nearly 1,000 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health System is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About St. Tammany Parish Hospital

A full-service acute care facility committed to providing world-class healthcare and the latest technology, St. Tammany Parish Hospital delivers today’s life-improving procedures with the utmost care to area residents with emphasis on wellness, preventive care and disease management close to home. STPH is recognized for quality, safety and the patient experience by Leapfrog, Hospital Compare, Healthgrades, CareChex and Women’s Choice. STPH is a self-supporting not-for-profit community hospital; it receives no ad valorem tax funding. Learn more at stph.org.

About Slidell Memorial Hospital

Slidell Memorial Hospital is a full-service 229-bed acute care not-for-profit community hospital located at 1001 Gause Blvd., in the heart of Slidell. The hospital’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our community. Founded in 1959, SMH serves as a primary healthcare resource for families in St. Tammany Parish, La.; and Pearl River County, Miss. The Slidell Memorial Hospital Regional Cancer Center also provides comprehensive care to patients across the Gulf Coast. Other SMH facilities include the SMH Imaging Center, SMH Heart Center and the SMH Sleep Center. For more information on all of SMH’s services, visit slidellmemorial.org. The hospital’s main phone number is (985) 280-2200.