ODDD Building Improvement Big Grant Recipients

18 Aug 2023


Opelousas, La. - Opelousas Downtown Development District (ODDD), with support from the City of Opelousas, and Opelousas Main Street (OMS), is excited to announce the third year of funding for the Building Improvement Grant (BIG) program. This matching grant program is designed to assist property and business owners in rehabilitating commercial buildings for the purpose of creating a positive visual impact, stimulating private investment, complementing other community development efforts and preserving the city’s historic identity and cultural assets.

The 2023-24 BIG recipients are Toby’s Downtown, Hope for Opelousas, Java Square Café, Holy Ghost Catholic Church, Imari Inn and Suites, and Gateway St. Landry. “We are so excited with the amount of success of this program. Last year our $16,000 investment yielded in approximately $110,000 in improvements in the downtown area,” exclaims Lena Charles, Chairwoman of Opelousas Downtown Development District.

“The reason the Downtown Development District was created is to invest in the downtown corridor” says Sarah Branton, Committee Chair for the Building Improvement Grant Program, “The lifeline of any community is it’s Downtown. That is our goal, to reinvest and have all the businesses back in commerce,” she said.” “The grant can be used to preserve history, improve the appearance or functionality of the space. Or even to meet building code.”

“This year we received more applications covering a variety of project scopes. These projects will not only enhance their buildings but areas of the district as well,” says Melanie Lee-Lebouef, City of Opelousas Main Street Manager.

The BIG program is a reimbursement grant program that gives business and property owners an incentive to renovate and rehabilitate their building located within the designated ODDD area. Preference was given to applications whose buildings are also located within the Main Street District. This year the program offered a total of $50,000 in grant funds for selected projects. The maximum amount that can be applied for is $10,000. Grant award amounts must be matched dollar for dollar by recipient. An applicant is only allowed one grant per fiscal year.

The Opelousas Downtown Development District was created by state law in 2018. The ODDD, in collaboration with other local public and private entities, is devoted to building leadership, progressing, and serving as the catalyst for economic growth and development in Downtown Opelousas.  The ODDD will encourage cooperation and collaboration by advancing a positive image of downtown and to plan and develop the designated commercial district to its potential, through economic development and historic preservation.

St. Landry Economic Development (SLED) is committed to Moving St. Landry Parish Forward through the creation and implementation of a forward-looking strategy of economic and community development. Our initiatives are designed to bring growth and prosperity to St. Landry Parish businesses, communities, its clients, and youth.  SLED is a resource and help to the business community, entrepreneurs, site selectors, citizens, and stakeholders interested in the economic growth of St. Landry Parish.

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