- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

PINEVILLE, La. (AP) - The Huey P. Long Medical Center building in Pineville is steeped in history, and now its legacy includes a place on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Town Talk reports (http://townta.lk/1K7ensP) the addition of the 76-year-old building to the National Register was announced Tuesday by officials of the Historical Association of Central Louisiana, which funded the process for National Register status.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Helen W. Moore, an association member who has a special connection to the building.

She worked at the charity hospital as a registered dietitian for 27 years.

Moore said she thinks tax breaks that accompany National Register status will lead a developer to repurpose “that sturdy, wonderful building that is part of our history.”

The hospital’s last day of operation was June 30, 2014, and preservationists and Pineville city officials have been urging that the building be repurposed.

While being part of the National Register doesn’t guarantee the building won’t be torn down, it will reduce the likelihood and will increase the chances the building could find new life.

Joining Moore in announcing the honor and showing off the National Register certificate from the National Park Service were Charles Charrier, association president, and Paul Smith of Historic Preservation Consulting in Alexandria.

Smith was hired by the association to do the research and paperwork needed in navigating the HPL building through the National Register process.

“It’s a tremendous, tremendous step forward in the preservation of the building and finding an adaptive re-use for the building,” Charrier said.

He said the building is a “historic landmark in Central Louisiana” with a long legacy of health care for the needy.

The HPL building and the Dairy Barn at Central Louisiana State Hospital are perhaps the most historic buildings in Pineville, Charrier said.

Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields declared in an email, “It’s a great day in the history of Huey P. Long Hospital! Such a treasure in our community is finally getting the recognition it deserves just over a year after it saw its last patient.”

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Information from: Alexandria Daily Town Talk, http://www.thetowntalk.com

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