NHDDC approves new budget proposal and chairman

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The Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) approved its 2016-2017 budget proposal at its meeting Thursday morning, June 16. There was $16,200 held back in the “Special Events and Projects” line item, which Treasurer David Stamey said is a precautionary move. The commission will reassess the budget in January.

“There’s a true fear of the unknown right now,” he said regarding the state’s tax raises and budget problems. This is why the proposed budget is $324,000 and not the annual $360,000. “We made the decision to cut back that 10 percent of the budget because of that,” said Stamey.

In other business, Payne William’s tenure as Chairman is at an end and Vanner Erikson will step into the position.

Erikson announced that the NSU Foundation’s Dragon Moat Races were exactly what they’d hoped for the first year. The event will be held at Chaplain’s Lake next year in lieu of the Rue Beauport Riverbank Renovation project.  He also said that the university’s fall enrollment numbers are up.

“This is a testament to the different programs we’re offering,” he said. By catering to the programs students want to take and growing relationships with its satellite campuses, Erikson says they’re only seeing the numbers continue to rise.

Sandra Dickens updated the Commission on the success of the commercial for Natchitoches, funded by the NHDDC and the Historic District Business Association (HDBA). The NHDDC gave the HDBA $10,000 ($5,000 to produce and $5,000 to put the commercial into play) and the HDBA added $8,000 to the fund.

In a week and a half, the commercial has over 400,000 views. The HDBA has tracked its advertising and will target the commercial 2-4 hours outside of Natchitoches. Dickens said it’s important, especially with the riverbank renovation project, that residents stop advertising for individual stores and restaurants and start advertising the City as a destination for travel.

Cynthia Sutton with the Cane River National Heritage Area reported that the Grand Ecore Visitors Center had over 800 visitors in May and around 700 in April. “It’s the little engine that could and we’re really proud of those numbers,” she said.
Mayor Lee Posey mentioned plans that are underway to create a design for Lafayette Street that will allow it to be used for events, instead of blocking off Front Street.
“It’s about finding a balance,” he said.

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