All the Economic Industrial Development District board needs is $10 million to $12 million to make it happen.
Dr. Anthony J. Greco of the University of Louisiana Lafayette the proposed center would generate anywhere from $3.4 million to $11 million in combined tax revenue for the state, parish and city of Opelousas from construction and first-year operation.
The variable is how large livestock events held the first year might be. The low side of the estimate is for 44 events of 100 entries and 15 non-livestock events; the high is for 44 events of 500 entries, along with the 15 other events.
Spending in the parish will increase about $30 million on the low sie and about $106 million on the high in the first year of operation, Greco estimates.
Construction of the center will suppor t235 temporary jobs, he notes.
Operation and maintenance of the center will support four permanent full-time jobs while generating seven full-time equivalent jobs from its part-time work force.
Additionally it will support 417 initial jobs and an additional 209 indirect jobs for the low event estimate and 1,813 initial jobs and 889 indirect for the high estimate, his report projects.
The SLEIDD board continues to consider various site alternatives for the propose center. Members and Executive Director Gerard Perron have visited similar facilities as they get a handle on what they want to build in St. Landry.
Putting together a financing package is a complicated task. Perron informed the board at its July meeting that it appears the state Department of Economic Development is the most likely conduit.
He said Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Mike Strain said he has not funds in this year’s budget for economic development.
Perron said it’s possible that with the economist’s report now in hand, the Dept. of Economic Development will allocate up to $2.5 million for infrastructure once a site is settled on.
The acreage needed depends on the specific development plan. A similar center in West Monroe sits on 13 acres, but some commissioners seem to think a larger tract makes more sense.
Greco’s enthusiasm is based on the market area’s burgeoning population and the fact that St. Landy is smack in the middle of the state’s booming equine industry.
“Although the proposed facility can be used for a variety of purposes, its primary function will be for livestock expositions, sales, races and other events. The bulk of these events will, of course, involve horses,” Greco noted.
He noted that the facility will be designed for a range of other events from concerts to circuses to trade shows, all of which, he estimates, will want to take advantage of the center’s strategic location, easy access and market reach.
“The possibilities are virtually endless and cannot be listed or even comprehended herein,” his report says.