CARENCRO — The Carencro City Council agreed Tuesday night to spend no more than $1.5 million on infrastructure to support the opening of a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Carencro Mayor Glenn Brasseaux said after the meeting that the money will be used to upgrade two roads leading to the new retail store, which will be located along the Interstate 49 Frontage Road, behind the Lourdes After Hours walk-in clinic near Super 1 Foods.
Brasseaux said the city should recoup its investment within a year of Wal-Mart’s opening through taxes and other revenue the new business is expected to bring to the city.
A Wal-Mart spokesman said the company hopes to break ground on the new store in the spring of this year and open by spring 2017. It could employ up to 300 people.
In other business, the council heard from the city manager on the status of a new sewage treatment plant that officials said must be built to accommodate the city’s rising population.
Brasseaux said the city has been approved for a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund the $24 million to $26 million facility.
The city plans to ask voters to support a one-cent sales tax to help repay the loan and to fund other needs, such as a new fire station and a new fire truck. Without the sales tax, Brasseaux said, the city would have to increase sewer and water bills by $60 to $80 a month.
If voters approve a one-cent tax, the sales tax rates would be 9 percent in most of the city and 10 percent in a special taxing district along I-49.
Before the city can ask voters to pass the tax, the state Legislature must pass a bill allowing the city to charge more than 8.5 percent in sales taxes. City Manager Jay Castille said state Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, D-Lafayette, will author the legislation in the Senate, and state Rep. Julie Emerson, R-Carencro, will sponsor the bill in the House.
Brasseaux said he hopes to place the tax on the ballot in October. If everything else falls into place, construction on the new sewage treatment plant could begin by spring 2017.
The council also received an update on a new recreation center in the works at the former Louisiana Ice Arena on the I-49 Frontage Road.
The city purchased the former ice arena in December 2014 for $1.8 million. The building is being converted to an indoor recreation center that will include a field for soccer, lacrosse and football. Plans also call for an 11,500-square-foot addition that will house a court for basketball and volleyball.
Lynn Guidry, the project’s architect, said the contractor doing the renovations has run into some unforeseen issues, but they are not serious setbacks and the center is still expected to open by the end of October.
The council also agreed to replace a yield sign at the corner of Church and St. Peter streets with a stop sign, making it a two-way stop for drivers on Church Street and giving right of way to drivers turning onto Church Street from St. Peter Street.
Brasseaux said the stop sign is needed to improve safety at the intersection. The city plans to consult with engineers at Fenstermaker and Associates for guidance on making the switch.