The Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission met May 17 to discuss its budget and other ongoing/upcoming projects.
There’s one more day to submit ideas and suggestions for a tagline that celebrates the positive future of Natchitoches and promotes our local businesses, restaurants, accommodations and attractions. The deadline is May 18 at midnight.
The commission discussed the billboard locations it maintains north and southbound on I-49 that indicate where the Natchitoches exits are. The current billboard location northbound coming from Alexandria is in a flood zone, which can make replacing its skin difficult. Since it’s not a prime location, the NHDDC is looking for a better spot. The downside is there’s not much available in the northbound section of I-49 between Alexandria and Natchitoches.
The proposed 2018-2019 budget was a large topic of discussion at the meeting. They will vote on it at the next meeting in June and it will be put into play July 1. The NHDDC provides marketing assistance to the Cane River National Heritage Area to assist in the purchase of a full page ad in the official Louisiana Tour Guide. This helps promote Magnolia, Oakland, Fort St. Jean Baptiste, Los Adaes and the Grand Ecore Visitors Center.
“These places don’t typically have the money for advertising,” said David Stamey. “I’m sure they enjoy the additional exposure.” He also said the NHDDC would like to continue this particular marketing assistance.
A few budget items to fund events weren’t removed, like the Meat Pie Triathalon, which Stamey said the organizers decided to discontinue.
There’s still $21,000 (plus any carry over) in the budget for anything that pops up, like conferences that come to town, bring several hundred people with them. This means heads in beds and more tourism for Natchitoches.
Stamey said there’s also $15,000 unspent because the NHDDC isn’t sure what the state will give them next year. The money was there last year but their budget was cut. The NHDDC is funded through state sales tax, so Stamey said until HB1 is completed, there’s no promises on whether they’ll need to make plans for cutbacks or no cutbacks.