Gonzales Capital Outlay Budget highlighted by $7.8 million PACE Center

Artist rendering of PACE Center

The City of Gonzales’ proposed budget for the coming fiscal year includes an aggressive Capital Outlay, $23.7 million, a $6 million increase from last year and.  The 2022-23 Capital Outlay Budget is “highlighted by $7.8 million…in proposed construction of a new performing arts, conference and events (PACE) center.”  The second largest budget allocation is also found in the Recreation Capital Outlay, the CARE Center sited next to Gonzales Middle School appropriation of $3 million is expected from a federal Housing and Urban Development grant.

$4.2 million in Capital Road Improvements is included in the budget, $2.2 million of which is earmarked for the St. Francis Parkway Extension that will (fingers crossed) link S Burnside/Hwy 44 to Darla Street on the south side of Hwy 30.  The extension will connect to the east-west roadway already constructed in Heritage Crossing, the 100-acre development in the southwest corner of the intersection formed by S Burnside/Hwy 44 and Hwy 30.

Clearly, the current administration and City Council have targeted  as the next economic engine for Gonzales.  Further south along Hwy 44 is Conway Subdivision with its promised, yet to be constructed, commercial outlets.  Long awaited investment at Edenborne Parkway seems in the offing as well.

The PACE Center will be built on acreage donated to the city by Heritage Crossing.  $4.5 million of the work will be finance by a loan with $1.5 from a donation made by Price LeBlanc’s heirs, another $1.5 million from the Tanger Mall Economic Development and $1 million funded by hotel tax collections “received to date.  Construction is expected to begin in the late Summer of 2022 and is projected to complete in the early Fall of 2023.”  ($8.5 million by our arithmetic).

Seems like a $700,000 surplus given the stated $7.8 million, a marked change from the 2021-22 Capital Outlay Budget that included $8.6 million for the PACE Center (a $100,000 shortfall).

Water Rehabilitation ($2,627,193 worth) Capital Outlay for this fiscal year evidences the City’s “commitment to provide clean, reliable water service.”  The budge includes refurbishment and relocation of a 50-year old main water line along Roddy Road at a cost of $1,944,693 to be funded through a Revolving Fund loan from Louisiana’s Department of Health.

Public Safety (Fire and Police departments) accounts for $1,912,687 of the Capital Outlay Budget.