- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) - The St. Landry Parish Council has 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 about south of Opelousas.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1nVCSlg ) 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.

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.

Rodier said after the meeting there is already sufficient interest from commercial developers to justify creation of the district.

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

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