The fourth time was the charm Friday. It was the fourth opening day set for the Cajun RVera (RV park) in New Iberia.
“I'm gonna say there was over 160 rain days. We even had a couple snow days. It was terrible. The weather; just one thing after another,” says Karl Vincent, chairman of the Acadiana Fairgrounds Commission.
Vincent, who was heading up the project at the Acadiana Fairgrounds, says funding became a problem. The project that was supposed to cost nearly $6.2 million ended up costing more than $7.3 million.
“We're over $580,000 on compliance costs and that's 9.5 percent. And we're over the other 10 percent, about roughly $600,000, on just cost overruns,” says Vincent.
Parish council members, including Roger Duncan, attribute much of those overruns to their preferences—like asking for asphalt versus limestone.
“I camp a lot and when I go to an RV park, I don't like driving around on limestone. It gets your camper dirty and all that,” says Duncan.
In the end, Vincent says, nearly $1 million came from parish loans, another $5 million from revenue bonds, and $250,000 from a BP grant, plus more than $1 million from being in a TIF District—a business district that pays an extra tax to spur economic growth.
Duncan says that's what the council and parish are banking on.
“It's a great economic tool to move the parish forward. If you look around, it's going to be a great place. It's a win-win for Iberia Parish and surrounding areas,” says Vincent.
Campers and even those who don't own RV's will enjoy a pool, lazy river, clubhouse and swim up bar—all open Friday.
Vincent says it will be a couple more weeks until the volleyball and horse shoe courts, dog park and 18-acre walking park are finished.