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Councilman Francis Touchet Jr. discusses plans for the space at the old tourism office. The wall behind the wooden shelf will be removed to open up the area. The room to the right will be made into a handicap accessible restroom.

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The partitions will be removed along with the wall to create more space for a new meeting room at the old tourism office in Abbeville.

Putting space to good use

An empty space owned by the city will soon have a new purpose.
Plans are in the works to remodel the old Vermilion Parish Tourism office on Veterans Memorial Drive and turn it into a space that can be utilized as a meeting place for various civic organizations.
“If the Kiwanis Club wants to meet here or the Rotarians want to use it,” Councilman Francis Touchet Jr. said, “we can have a place for them to be able to do that.”
“For the various organizations, there is going to be a space if they want to use it.”
The space opened up recently when Tourism Director Alison Miller moved to the Cultural Center in Downtown Abbeville, as part of a plan to run the city’s welcome center at that location. Touchet, along with Mayor Mark Piazza and Councilman Francis Plaisance, began to discuss options for the newly vacated office, which the city owns. The Vermilion Chamber of Commerce owns the space next door.
“This is a joint effort among us,” Touchet said. “I want to give credit to those guys for assistance and making lots of suggestions.”
One of the first orders of business will be to open up the space. That will include removing a wall that divides the entrance space, where visitors used to browse through brochures, from the office space.
“That is going to provide plenty of room to put tables,” Touchet said. “We can have a podium on the corner for guest speakers. I think it will easily fit 40 to 45 people.”
The space will be up to proper code.
“We are going to have a handicap accessible bathroom and a ramp will be put outside,” Touchet said.
The area will be given a facelift, too.
“We are going to paint and fix some of the cracks in the wall,” Touchet said. “We will put some new, solid doors.
“We are going to take care of the inside of the building, first.”
Touchet said the outside of the building will receive some attention as well.
“We want to make it all look nice,” Touchet said. “This is busy area.”
When will this start? Soon, Touchet said. He brought up the plans during last night’s City Council meeting.
“We are going to get our engineer to come up with a sketch of where everything needs to be,” Touchet said. “I am looking at the next month to see a lot of progress.”
The end result will be a positive for the city and the organizations that help it in so many ways.
“These groups are always doing things to help target certain needs of the community,” Touchet said. “We want to make sure they have a venue where they can meet to discuss those plans.”

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