Officials attend 4-H and Safe Room ribbon cutting

Brandie Richardson @B_lifestyles
Officials cut ribbon at the 4-H building located at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.

     GONZALES – Ascension Parish elected officials gathered for the official ribbon cutting of the 4-H building and Safe Room located at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center on Dec. 21.

     “We at the office of community development we try to make sure that we focus on safer, stronger, smarter, that is in the act of a disaster we will be better off than we were before,” said Office of Community Development Executive Director Pat Forbes. “This project in so many way is such a excellent example of that, for one thing it's going to provide economic development opportunities for recovery, response and disaster time. It helps the community all the time, 365 days a year and thats the kind of project we really love to see.”

     The 66,000 square foot building received major improvements over the last year, which transformed the facility to a climate controlled, disaster recovery building. The building now includes three conference rooms, showers and restrooms and a hurricane-rated safe room that will house emergency responders and recovery operations in the event of a disaster.

     Parish President Tommy Martinez said that the improvements to the building totaled to nearly $9 million and the addition of climate control will allow for the building to be used throughout the year, instead of only in the cooler months.

     “From everything I hear business is going to be very, very busy,” Martinez said. “What we did, we remodeled and put air in here and climate control. That has been a problem, we could only use it during the winter most of the time because it gets so hot. Now everything is usable year around.”

     Ascension Parish Council Chairman Randy Clouatre shared Martinez’s sentiments.

     “This improvement of this building is one of the small things that shows the very diverse and uniqueness of Lamar-Dixon Expo and this whole complex,” Clouatre said. “This facility is unique amongst everything. There’s other facilities that have some of the livestock areas and other facilities that have some of the convention center area, but this is a very uniques, very pleasant atmosphere, low profile and one of the best places to come here and have a event.”