City of Opelousas officials working to create more economic development in the area

Photo by KADN staff

Planning to build an exhibition center that would seat 4 to 6 thousand people

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 4:02pm

"The more I think about it, the more exciting it becomes because I think if you build it they will come," says Donald Cravins, Sr, mayor of the city of Opelousas.

And Mayor Cravins says if you build an exhibition center they will come, and so will the money.

"That's one of the things that I would like to do while I'm still mayor," he says.

This facility would be able to seat four to six thousand people, and attract events like horse shows, car shows, concerts, and maybe even boxing events.

"I feel very strongly, as does a group of other citizens, that if we can put that venue together that Opelousas would become, to a large extent, a gateway to entertainment," he adds.

Mayor Cravins thinks this kind of facility would bring tremendous economic development to the area, and that's why the project is one of his top priorities.

"It will take some doing.  It will take a lot of work and a lot of cooperation, but I think that we have the formula that would enable us to put together the finances so that we could make this thing happen," says the mayor.

With possible funding parties in Baton Rouge and outside of Opelousas city limits, an exhibition center would create jobs and spur growth throughout the community.

"The type of people that we believe we would attract to that venue are people that come ready, willing, and able to spend money."

The mayor says that this facility has the potential to bring investors and retailers, and that's the first step to bring in large-scale events and attractions.  The next part of this process is to simply get all of the major players in this project to sit down in one room and finalize the plans.  Mayor Cravins says he hopes that by the end of next year construction will be able to start.

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