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|Sen. Landrieu keynote speaker for Vidalia center dedication|
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu will be the keynote speaker at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center grand opening on Thursday, October 16, at 3 p.m.
"I am looking forward to coming up for the ribbon cutting and I am happy to have contributed to its development," Landrieu said. "I have been a longtime supporter of Mayor Hyram Copeland. He has done an extraordinary job for Vidalia and for the region."
Vidalia received a federal grant of $1.7 million for the expansion of the Conference and Convention Center to be used as an emergency shelter.
"We're having all kinds of events, different types of conventions and conferences as well as a number of local events," Copeland said. "It's something that is being utilized by the community and everyone is enjoying it. We're proud of it and look forward the grand opening."
Landrieu also secured the initial federal grant for the construction of the Center in 2001. That $640,000 grant was included in the Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies Appropriations
The American Red Cross designated the facility as an official evacuee center in case of an emergency. The expansion will include the construction of a multi-purpose space, a kitchen, showers, general storage and mechanical space.
The grant is provided under the Community Facilities Grant Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
The Conference and Convention Center houses the Office of Tourism, Chamber of Commerce and a 37,000-foot meeting room that will holds 1,200 for a banquet or 1,700 stadium style.
"That shelter is another example of Louisiana preparing itself to be basically storm-proof," Landrieu said. "We can't stop the storms, but we can certainly be better prepared. It starts with stronger levees and coasts, but includes smart sheltering plans and smart evacuation plans for all citizens."
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