ARNAUDVILLE – The Town Council last week picked a plot of land near the post office appraised at $63,000 as the proposed site of a civic center of approximately 6,000 square feet with parking for 60 cars on a minimum of an acre and a half.
Noting that the town has until June 26 to apply for a grant – already on its second six-month extension – Mayor Kathy Richard instructed the town’s grant writer to draft a letter to the property owners with an offer to purchase the property.
It was not a unanimous decision. Alderman Todd Meche suggested the civic center be built on the tennis courts adjacent to Town Hall, and that the town petition the St. Landry Parish School Board for the use of the Arnaudville Elementary School parking lot. Alderman Louis Stelly commented that “Some of my constituents say we don’t need a new building in town.” And Alderman Chester “Doc” Broussard made a motion to reject both the post office site and another one across from St. Francis Regis Catholic Church which was under consideration.
The plot across from the church was appraised at $45,000, but the use of that plot would require moving sewage lines and possibly gas mains at an estimated cost of $30,000, according to town engineer Scott Boagni.
Another factor would be the removal of trees located in that area.
A third plot, at the local ball park, was not appraised due to a lack of sewage lines. Alderman Meche said the land for the ball park was purchased for use as a ball park and should remain as such anyway.
He that the final cost of the property near the church would be close to that of the one near the post office after factoring the fees for tree removal and the problem with the sewage lines.
The tennis court idea underwent some discussion, with Alderman Broussard commenting that commented that “The tennis courts aren’t used.” Mayor Richard countered that the tennis courts, which she said are valued at $75,000, are used by Arnaudville Elementary for PE classes. She emphasized that the tennis courts are an asset to the community and should not be considered.
Alderman Annette Guidry pushed for a decision. Alderman Ricky LaGrange said that he could not see tearing out the tennis courts and that the property across from the church was obviously not feasible. At that point, the mayor opened the discussion to get input from the citizenry. Laura Isaac stood and refuted Alderman Stelly’s comments, saying, “Many young people in their 20s and 30s are looking forward to having a community center. They want to have a place to hold wedding receptions and family reunions.” Finally, both Alderman Meche and Alderman Stelly agreed that a decision had to be made.
After “Doc” Broussard’s motion failed for lack of a second, Mayor Richard asked the council to make a motion to proceed with the process of purchasing the land near the post office. The motion was made by Ricky LaGrange, seconded by Annette Guidry, and it passed with Meche and Broussard voting nay.