The City Council added an exciting ordinance to the agenda at Monday night’s meeting, Aug. 26. While just an introduction, the ordinance will authorize the City to lease all or a portion of the property located at 607 Trudeau Street/Depot Street and 720 Sixth Street to the United States of America through the Designated Representative of the General Services Administration (GSA) Public Buildings Service.
The plan is for the National Park Service to move its offices from their location on Rapides Drive to the train depot near MLK Jr. Drive. There will be about 1,300-1,500 square feet of office space for the NPS. The middle space within the building will be converted into an interpretive center to tell the story of the African American history in the Natchitoches area. The other side of the building will become a media room.
The City will remodel the inside of the building and lease it to the NPS, which the City sees as a good return on its investment. While it will need new plumbing, electrical and HVAC the rest of the building’s interior will be left natural, which fits within the NPS guidelines.
On top of this, the NPS has around 1 million artifacts that they need to move along with their offices. Part of their requirements is a climate controlled space. The warehouse is climate controlled to 62 degrees and has a 20×20 walk in freezer area.
About the time the City started discussions over the depot with the NPS, it was approached by Eagle Distributing to see if it would be interested in purchasing Eagle’s warehouse. Eagle Distributing’s territory has changed and they’re looking to rebuild out toward the interstate. The City would purchase the 9,471 square foot warehouse on Sixth Street for $400,000. This building would also be leased to the NPS.
“This is exciting for our community,” said Mayor Lee Posey. The NPS also thinks it would be a good idea to be located within the historic district.
The NPS fiscal year ends Oct. 1 and they have some money in their current budget to put toward this project. This has all come together at an opportune time, which is why the City Council rushed to add the ordinance to Monday night’s agenda. A special called meeting will be held regarding this project on Sept. 13. More details will be announced on this meeting.