- Associated Press - Sunday, June 29, 2014

MONTPELIER, La. (AP) - A new multipurpose center has opened in St. Helena Parish.

The $900,000 center is part of what will become a 40-acre recreation park off Louisiana Highway 16 between Montpelier and Amite, The Advocate reported (http://bit.ly/1wAPEpD).

It will be operated by the parish’s 5th Ward Recreation District.

Construction of the 3,800-square-foot building was funded mostly through state Office of Community Development disaster relief grants, recreation district chairwoman Virginia Bell said.

The facility includes an open meeting room, space for a future computer lab, a kitchen, restrooms and storage.

Parish officials are seeking grants and donations for computers with a goal of offering computer training and after-school tutoring, Bell said.

The building is equipped to serve as a storm relief center or shelter and may be rented out for special occasions, Bell said.

Police Juror Major Coleman said the recreation district will receive funding later this year to begin design work on four baseball diamonds slated to be built near the multipurpose center. Construction could begin as early as next year, he said.

Coleman is urging residents to support renewal in November of the recreation district’s 10-year, 15-mill tax, which is needed to operate the facility.

The tax, originally passed by voters in 2004, will generate about $80,000 per year, Bell said.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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