St. Martin Parish Council votes to abolish hospital district

St. Martin Parish District 5 Councilman Chris Tauzin (center) addresses residents of St. Martin and St. Landry parishes during Tuesday night’s council meeting.

ST. MARTINVILLE — The St. Martin Parish Council voted Tuesday night to abolish the First Hospital District of the Parishes of St. Martin and St. Landry.

A large contingent of supporters of the move from both parishes were in attendance, hoping that the former St. Luke’s Hospital in Arnaudville could be repurposed as a center for French immersion classes.

St. Landry Parish voted to abolish the district last month, but is still seeking an attorney general opinion to determine how the structure can be used. The ordinance passed Tuesday in St. Martinville is identical to the St. Landry Parish ordinance. It gives the hospital building, estimated at $300,000, to the St. Landry Parish Government. The St. Martin Parish Government will receive 65.4 percent of the cash assets remaining from the district to compensate for allowing the St. Landry Parish Government to keep the title to the structure.

“It is in deplorable shape, but it is salvageable,” St. Martin Parish President Guy Cormier said.

The St. Landry Parish residents in attendance said they were frustrated that their government was still seeking to use the dilapidated building for medical purposes.

“They have tried for years to get a medical tenant to no avail,”  Mavis Fruge of Arnaudville said. “They still want to use it for medical, but it can’t support that. But it can be a classroom.”

Under the terms of the agreement abolishing the district, St. Martin Parish has no say in the use of the building, but District 5 Councilman Chris Tauzin wished the residents seeking to use it for French culture and language the best of luck.

“I appreciate you being here, and wish you all the best in setting up a French immersion program there,” Tauzin said. “We need more efforts to preserve that culture.”

Fruge said she was appreciative of Tauzin’s words and the council’s action.

“After dealing with the council in our parish, I have to say how pleasant it has been to see your council at work,” Fruge said. “You certainly do things efficiently.”

The hospital district was formed in 1963 and previously had operated St. Luke Hospital in Arnaudville. The facility, however, has been shuttered for years. The district has not collected any ad valorem taxes for the operation since 2008.

In other business, the council:

• Vote on an ordinance to rezone the property at 1065 Choppy Cade Road from R-2 (Mixed Residential) to C-2 (General Commercial).

• Authorized Cormier to execute a contract with Jaime M. Rinaudo for nutritional educational services.

• Authorized Cormier to execute a contract for 2017 with the Lafayette Juvenile Detention Home.

• Voted to begin the process to abolish Road Sub-District 3 of Road District 1.

• Appointed Lacie Bourque to the St. Martin Parish Recreation Steering Committee.

• Authorized Cormier to execute a cooperative endeavor agreement with the state for work on the I-10 frontage roads between Louisiana 328 and Louisiana 347.

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