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OPELOUSAS — The St. Landry Parish Council on Wednesday created a special economic district for commercial and residential projects south of Opelousas with plans to finance a $25 million event center.
 
The Harry Guilbeau Area Economic District covers a 730-acre undeveloped tract of land along the Interstate 49 service road and Harry Guilbeau Road, a several mile, two-lane paved stretch of highway that connects I-49 with La. 182 about 4 miles south of the city.
Officials will have the authority to collect an additional 2-cent hotel and retail sales tax within the district to finance a multipurpose events center planned northwest of Harry Guilbeau Road.
 
The cost of the events center is estimated at about $25 million, said Bill Rodier, executive director of the St. Landry Economic and Development District.
 
The Opelousas Board of Aldermen approved a similar ordinance creating the district because the city plans to annex nearly all of the property in the proposed district, Parish President Bill Fontenot said. Fontenot said the district will include both commercial and residential developments. Fontenot said the 2-cent sales tax within the district will be in addition to a 2-cent sales tax that voters approved last October in the unincorporated areas to fund parish road improvements.
Fontenot said Wednesday’s meeting was necessary in order to meet a Nov. 1 deadline to apply for about $200,000 in state capital outlay funding for proposed development within the district. The capital outlay request will be used for what he called initial planning costs such as architectural and use study fees.
 
 

Cosay Road, which connects U.S. 167 and La. 103 in the Plaisance area, smelled of asphalt Tuesday as crews tamped down an 18-foot wide, three-inch deep bed of blacktop. Theirs was the first resurfacing effort in St. Landry Parish’s long anticipated Smooth Ride Home effort.

The project has been underway for months, but until now the work has consisted of rebuilding road foundations and laying new culverts and drainage pipes.

“You can do all the prep work you want, but until you are laying down asphalt people will say you aren’t doing anything,” said Donnie Saucier, an inspector with Aucoin and Associates, of Eunice, who was on site to make sure the work was up to code.

“I think the people will be happy when they see the results,” Saucier said.

Ahead of him was a mile of a pothole-rutted road that in places was turning back to gravel. Behind him was a mile of new, smooth pavement.

Beside him was a huge yellow machine that occupied the entire width of the road.

“It is an AP1055E. Just call it an asphalt spreader,” said operator Lee Series with Coast Construction, a professional road construction company.

Series was taking a short break as he awaited the arrival of another dump truck loaded with 17 tons of asphalt to feed his machine. That was enough to move the project ahead about 40 feet.

After the new coat of hot asphalt had set for a couple of hours, a steamroller moved back and forth to create the smooth surface that motorists will experience.

Parish President Bill Fontenot said Tuesday afternoon the crew, one of three active in the parish, will probably complete another mile of road that day and then another mile the day after.

He was joined on the construction site by members of the parish council, all eager to see the result of their years of work to draft and then pass the new 2-cent sales tax that is paying for the project.

Despite the dismal shape of Cosay Road, Fontenot said it is in better shape than most of the 470-plus roads the parish plans to resurface over the next three years.

“It was rough and the surface was deteriorating, but the foundation was still good. All it needed was a resurfacing,” Fontenot said.

He said that isn’t the case with many of the other roads in the current resurfacing plan.

He pointed to the WPA Road that crews are preparing to resurface. “The whole foundation is bad. We are having to dig up 2 to 3 feet of the old road and mix it with lime and cement to create a new foundation,” Fontenot said.

Regardless of the condition of the roads, Fontenot estimated that the first two Smooth Ride Home packages will extend their lives for about 15 years.

The first contract, which was awarded to Opelousas’ Prairie Contractors, is upgrading or entirely rebuilding 66 miles of roads south of U.S. 190.

A second contract, which was awarded to Coastal Bridge of Baton Rouge, is upgrading about 50 miles of roads north of U.S. 190 and in the Eunice area.

Fontenot said the parish will bid out four more projects worth about $10 million each over the next few years to address a total of 472 roads throughout the parish.

“We will hold our next bid at the end of the year or early next year and then another by early summer,” Fontenot said.

St. Landry Parish has had some of the worst roads in the state for decades. That is finally changing as the Smooth Ride Home program begins what is expected to be a massive, $66 million parishwide road rebuilding effort.

“I’m feeling really good,” Fontenot said. “When people ask, ‘When are we starting?’ I can say ‘right now.’”

Now that the asphalting has begun, he said motorists will experience traffic delays — not too bad, he hopes. Each road should be useable within a day or less after it is resurfaced.

In most cases, crews will resurface only half the road at a time so traffic may move during construction.

“This is the fruit of the people’s vote. Our roads will be better than state roads and better than federal roads. Both programs are greatly underfunded. The voters of St. Landry Parish have funded a first-class road program,” Fontenot said.

Voters last year passed a 15-year, 2-cent sales tax in the rural portions of the parish. All the money goes to rural road improvements. It cannot be used for salaries or other parish projects.

That tax passed by a comfortable margin. It is expected to generate about $7 million a year.

*Article and Image courtesy of the Daily World and Freddie Herpin*

The St. Landry Parish Council hereby gives Notice that it will hold a Special Meeting on Thursday, October 30, 2014, starting at 5:00pm at the Old City Market located at 131 W. Bellevue Street, Opelousas, Louisiana for the following purposes, to-wit:
 
1. Adopt Ordinance No. 2014-013; An Ordinance of the St. Landry Parish Code of Ordinances to Create the Harry Guilbeau Area Economic Development District, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, defining the boundaries thereof from which area local sales tax and hotel occupancy tax increments will be determined and used to finance economic development projects in accordance with and as authorized by Part II of Chapter 27 of Title 33 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, as amended, and providing for other matters in connection with the foregoing.
 
2. Introduce a proposed ordinance levying an additional sales tax of not exceeding two percent (2.00%) in the Harry Guilbeau Area Economic Development District, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.
 
3. Introduce a proposed ordinance levying an additional hotel occupancy tax of not exceeding two percent (2.00%) in the Harry Guilbeau Area Economic Development District, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.
 
4. Adopt a resolution approving the creation of a joint commission to be known as the "Crowne Parc Joint Commission," authorizing the execution of a Joint Commission Agreement by and among the Parish of St. Landry, the Harry Guilbeau Area Economic Development District, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana and the City of Opelousas, and providing for other matters in connection therewith.
 
 
BY ORDER OF THE ST. LANDRY PARISH COUNCIL CHAIRMAN   
/s/ Hurlin Dupre, Chairman
NOTICE POSTED: October 29, 2014
Arlissa Anne Taylor, Council Clerk  
St. Landry Parish Council
P.O. Drawer 100, Opelousas, LA 70570
Telephone Number: 337-942-6863
 
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance, please contact Arlissa Anne Taylor or Laycie Alfred at 337-942-6863 describing the assistance that is necessary.
 

P U B L I C N O T I C E
 
THE ST. LANDRY PARISH COUNCIL HEREBY GIVES NOTICE THAT IT WILL HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014, AT 5:30PM AT OLD CITY MARKET LOCATED AT 131 W. BELLEVUE STREET, OPELOUSAS, LOUISIANA.

THE HEARING IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF RECEIVING ANY AND ALL OBJECTIONS FROM THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOLLOWING: 5:30PM ORDINANCE NO. 2014-013 AN ORDINANCE OF THE ST. LANDRY PARISH CODE OF ORDINANCES TO CREATE AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT IN THE PARISH OF ST. LANDRY, STATE OF LOUISIANA, AND TO LEVY A 2% SALES AND USE TAX AND A 2% HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX THEREIN

BY ORDER OF ST. LANDRY PARISH COUNCIL /s/ Hurlin Dupre, Chairman

_____________________________________________________________________________

P U B L I C   N O T I C E - ST. LANDRY PARISH GOVERNMENT SPECIAL MEETING
 
The St. Landry Parish Council hereby gives Notice that it will hold a Special Meeting on Thursday, October 23, 2014, starting at 5:45pm at the Old City Market located at 131 W. Bellevue Street, Opelousas, Louisiana for the following purposes, to-wit:
 
1. Adopt Ordinance No. 2014-013; An Ordinance of the St. Landry Parish Code of Ordinances to Create the Harry Guilbeau Area Economic Development District, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, defining the boundaries thereof from which area local sales tax and hotel occupancy tax increments will be determined and used to finance economic development projects in accordance with and as authorized by Part II of Chapter 27 of Title 33 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, as amended, and providing for other matters in connection with the foregoing.
 
2. Introduce a proposed ordinance levying an additional sales tax of not exceeding two percent (2.00%) in the Harry Guilbeau Area Economic Development District, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.
 
3. Introduce a proposed ordinance levying an additional hotel occupancy tax of not exceeding two percent (2.00%) in the Harry Guilbeau Area Economic Development District, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.
 
4. Adopt a resolution approving the creation of a joint commission to be known as the "St. Landry Parish Events Center Commission," authorizing the execution of a Joint Commission Agreement by and among the Parish of St. Landry, the Harry Guilbeau Area Economic Development District, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, the City of Opelousas and the St. Landry Parish Economic and Industrial Development District, approving a special counsel employment contract relative to the creation of the said joint commission, and providing for other matters in connection therewith.
 
 
BY ORDER OF THE ST. LANDRY PARISH COUNCIL   
/s/ Hurlin Dupre, Chairman
__________________________________________________________________________________________
 
ST. LANDRY PARISH COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING
WHEN: Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 5:45pm 
Old City Market Building, 131 W. Bellevue St..  
Opelousas, Louisiana 
 

 

Our 2014 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day is scheduled for the first Saturday in November - November 1, 2014 at the recycling centers in Opelousas and Eunice.

At last year's event, over 200 St. Landry Parish residents safely disposed of their household chemicals, oil, tires, paint, electronics and other hazards, diverting over 5 tons of materials from our landfill and helping to protect the soil and water from these pollutants.

The following items are collected at our Household Hazardous Waste Day event each year: PAINTS - AUTOMOBILE BATTERIES - MOTOR OIL - ANTIFREEZE - HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS - PESTICIDES – FLAMMABLES – CORROSIVES – MEDICATIONS TIRES (LIMIT 5 PER PERSON) - FLUORESCENT TUBES AND BULBS - OTHER HAZARDOUS HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS ELECTRONIC WASTE (COMPUTERS, MONITORS, PRINTERS, SCANNERS, ETC.) CELL PHONES AND CELL PHONE BATTERIES THIS COLLECTION IS FOR HOUSEHOLDS ONLY. Large quantities from businesses, farms or commercial operations will not be accepted. PROHIBITED: infectious and medical wastes, biological and radioactive materials, compressed gas cylinders, ammunition, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and explosives

For more information contact St. Landry Parish Recycling Center at 337-942-9576 or Solid Waste Disposal District at 337-826-5211.

THIS IS A FREE SERVICE! Please utilize this opportunity to keep these hazards out of our waters and natural environment.

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