Tourist Commission approves land purchase, spending initial BP grant
By PAUL KEDINGER
The Acadia Parish Tourist Commission ratified the action of two committees, but tabled a decision on the design of its proposed convention center during its meeting Thursday morning, April 14.
With the board’s approval, the Commission will exercise its rights under a servitude agreement with the Hoffpauer Family on a 100 foot right of way on land purchased from Sulphur Country, LLC, as the seven-acre site for the planned convention center.
Once the Hoffpauer Family donates a portion of the right of way to the State of Lousiaiana/City of Crowley for a frontage road, the final sale price will be established, explained Paul Broussard, Commisson treasurer.
The original servitude agreement stipulates a sale price of $45,714 per acre. Broussard estimated the 100 foot parcel was approximately an eighth of an acre and would cost in the range of $35,000 to $36,000.
Commission members also approved the spending of the first tourism funds from a $68,828.96 grant provided by BP Exploration & Productions, Inc.
The funds provided to the parish tourist commission by British Petroleum are intended to overcome misconceptions about the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The plan is segmented into six quarterly categories that will conclude in July 2012.
In addition to the PB grant to the Acadia Commission, a seven-parish Acadiana Tourism Coalition received funds.
The coalition included tourist commissions in Jeff Davis, Acadia, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, and Vermilion Parishes.
The coalition helped sponsor a Chicago travel and adventure show featuring Louisiana seafood held in January. Executive Director Gwen Hanks reported the parish commission received 629 tourist inquiries following the Chicago show.
The coalition might wish to lend its sponsorship to a similar seafood show held during March in Boston, Mass., suggested Paul Broussard.
A decision on whether or not to pursue an internationally recognized certification as an International Association of Conference Center (IACC) facility was tabled after several members voiced conflicting opinions.
Isabella de laHoussaye, the center’s project coordinator, argued it would be premature to accept or reject the IACC standard because no tax revenues have been pledged.
Though the Acadia center would be likely the first IACC certified center in Louisiana, the designation demands very specific requirements for the conference room, furnishing, technical equipment and permanent staffing.
Kayla Link, CEO of the Crowley Chamber of Commerce, reported she hasn’t had anyone support the IACC certification.
“Where do we go from here?” asked Broussard when he raised the issue, citing the need to give some direction to architect Trey Trahan who has been hired to prepare a conceptual plan and cost estimate.
It was agreed the architect will be conducted regarding his timetable and possible added costs.
In other business, Commission members were told a parish motel owner, faced with an injunction due to unpaid occupancy room taxes, has agreed to a repayment schedule.
The Commission expressed its appreciation to two members who were attending their final meeting. Kayla Link, who has resigned her Chamber post, introduced her replacement, while Steve Carriere will be replaced by Dollie Eaglin-Monroe as the member-at-large.