Welcome center to be finished by March

Cajun Coast Executive Director Carrie Stansbury.

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD zfitzgerald@daily-review.com
The completion date for the Cajun Coast Welcome and Interpretative Center has been pushed back to March 2014 as repairs to the roof took longer than expected, Cajun Coast Executive Director Carrie Stansbury said.
The roof of the new welcome center is still being worked on, and the materials for the roof will arrive in probably three weeks, Stansbury said. The completion date to finish repairs on the building was originally set for August.
Expert House Movers lifted the building in May to its original height. The building sank more than 4 feet on June 14, 2012. The cause was of the collapse was never publicly released. 
 “They’re progressing nicely on the interior, but the roof still needs to be complete,” she said. The projected date for the completion of the building is March 2014, but “we’re hoping they’ll be finished before then,” Stansbury said.
Cajun Coast will add the “interpretative component” to the building, which includes adding panels on the back of the building that have information about the area’s wildlife and interior panels with “everything there is to see and do in St. Mary Parish, Stansbury said. Cajun Coast will also put in brochure racks inside the building, she said.
The roof took a lot longer than the contractor expected, and also ran into some issues with the fire marshal transferring information from the previous contractor, Stansbury said.
The St. Mary Parish council recently decided to apply for state capital outlay funding to remodel the Cajun Coast welcome center building currently in use in Patterson, which is owned by the parish. Cajun Coast has accumulated many years of items in that building, which will take a while to move to the new building, she said.
Once the new welcome center opens, the old building will be able to be used for other parish purposes, she said. 
Cajun Coast is trying to get temporary parking access because work is still ongoing for the permanent parking lot, she said. 
Cajun Coast will need volunteers for the new center, and will eventually hire travel counselors once they can be trained in the new building, she said.

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