By Bonnie Culverhouse
In an effort to bring in more tourists, Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission has entered into a lease/purchase agreement with the Miller-Inabnett family to purchase approximately 11 acres between the back of the Minden Civic Center and Sheppard Street.
“It will be a great place to expand out, have food trucks … there are endless possibilities,” said Nick Cox, CVC member. “We for sure want to use it to generate more tourism in Webster Parish. The commission is leaning toward a festival plaza.”
Funds for the $500,000 acquisition are in Webster Parish CVC’s reserves, Cox said.
“It’s money that has been collected from the hotel/motel tax,” he added.
That money is required by State Revised Statute 33:457.1 to generate tourism through “the commission for the purposes of attracting conventions and tourists into the area of the jurisdiction of the commission, or as provided by the proposition dedicating the proceeds of the sales and use tax. The commission shall have authority to spend money for advertising, promotion, and publication of information.”
“The funds can be utilized to a limited degree right away,” Cox said. “We’ve got to make sure we have all our safety precautions in place. In a very short time, we will be able to utilize it by having a grand opening with food trucks.”
There are limitations due to lack of infrastructure. But Cox said that will change shortly, too.
“Water and electricity there are a high priority,” he added.
“Downtown Minden festivals have grown significantly over the past few years and Miller Quarters will be a wonderful addition to our city by providing visitors with more space to gather, celebrate and enjoy the beauty and hospitality of our community,” said Serena Gray, Webster Parish CVC CEO.
CVC works with the state as well as the Webster Parish Police Jury. All board appointments must be approved by the jury. Decisions such as the property acquisition are made solely by the commission, Cox said.
“Excitement is abuzz as we begin to formally open the newly established park at Miller Quarters,” said Johnnye Kennon, administrative assistant for Webster Parish CVDC. “We now have an additional outdoor gathering space to host a variety of events to be enjoyed by both Minden residents and visitors for years to come.”