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Recreation group want community center

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / January 23, 1998

LAPLACE – The St. John the Baptist Parish Recreation Advisory Boardwants the LaPlace Lion’s Club building to become a community center.The group voted at a special meeting Monday to recommend that action tothe Parish Council.

The board unanimously approved a motion recommending that the Lion’sClub building be declared a community center available at no cost for theuse of non-profit, civic/religious organizations and as office space forthe recreation department during normal business hours. The board askedRecreation Director Louis Lipps to present the recommendation to theParish Council, which met last night. The council will ultimately decidewhat will be done with the building.Board member Russ Wise said the organizations included would be anyrecognized by the Internal Revenue Service as non-profit. Board presidentPhilip Helm asked that a clause be added that any revenue generated by thehall be earmarked for recreation only.Before voting the board heard from Rachel Terry, den leader of Cub ScoutPack 310. Terry said the pack has been using the Lion’s Club building forits monthly meetings and she was worried that it would have no place tomeet when the building was sold. The pack could not meet at local schoolsbecause it would have to pay to have someone there to turn the lights onand off, and it did not want to go to the parents for more money, she said. Terry noted the benefits of the Cub Scouts, saying the organizationstresses helping other people and that it volunteers in the community asmuch as it can. She said when it met at the Lion’s Club building, it wasalso sure to leave it in better shape than it was before.

Terry said the pack used the building on the third Thursday of each monthand three other times a year for its Pinewood Derby, Halloween party andBlue/Gold banquet.

“It is a good organization for the kids, and I would like to see themcontinue to meet at the Lion’s Club building,” Terry said.

Terry said the building could also be used for things like teen counselingand also made a recommendation that more lighting be installed at thefacility.

Board member Lionel Tamplain asked about repairs that might be needed.Lipps said repairs were minor with a few ceiling tiles needing to bereplaced and said the tables and chairs there were in good shape.The parish recently purchased the Lion’s Club building on Cambridge fromthe LaPlace Lion’s Club for $200,000. Suggestions had been made to rentout the building as a reception hall, but board members said they havereceived calls from citizens in the area worrying about the noise level.Parish President Arnold Labat has also said the administration does notwant to get into competition with local businesses.

Wise said he feels using the building as a community center is the bestroute to go.

“This is something the whole parish really needs,” Wise said. “We have aplace where organizations can go and stage their meetings and banquets. Itadds something positive to the community. I think of all the possible uses,this is the highest and the best.”

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