Cultural District aims to revitalize historic areas

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish announced the establishment of a Cultural District Coalition: a new community partnership aimed at spurring revitalization of the Parish’s historic and culturally significant areas.

Serving both a communicative and advisory role, members of the coalition will consist of local stakeholders, community leaders, and staff from several Parish Departments.

The Coalition will meet quarterly to develop a strategy to promote four proposed cultural districts located in LaPlace, Reserve, Garyville and River Road on the West Bank.

This effort follows an application made by the Parish in March with the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development to establish four cultural districts.

If approved, residents and business owners within the proposed districts would become eligible for both state historic rehabilitation tax credits and tax exemptions on the sale of original works of art.

Established in 2007 by the State Legislature, the cultural district program has led to the successful revitalization of many rural and urban historic areas across the state of Louisiana.

“For many years, we’ve touted our rich heritage and culture and establishing a Cultural District Coalition is an opportunity to help preserve it for many years to come, Parish President Natalie Robottom said.

Parish Councilwoman Julia Remondet said the program would help revitalize local communities and promote the cultural heritage of these areas “while spurring economic growth.”

In addition to forming the Cultural District Coalition, the Parish hopes to continue to build opportunities around its unique culture and history through the creation of local historic districts, applications for historic preservation grants and implementation of economic development initiatives.

Citizens interested in any of these programs may contact the Planning and Zoning Department for more information at 985-651-5565.