Buras Community Center now openOct 5th, 2010 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: community
The Buras Community Center, located on Highway 11, is open and operating. Last week, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, representatives from United Way, YMCA, and FEMA, District 8 Councilmember Lynda Banta, and residents cut the ribbon to celebrate the completion of the brand new building. The Buras Community Center is the second of four brand new centers to open in areas of Plaquemines Parish that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The Buras Community Center is approximately 17,340 square feet. It includes a fitness center, conference room, teen activity center, private offices and a swimming pool, with a movie theater in the works.
“I just took a tour and I had goose bumps,” said Nungesser. “We wanted something to build our community around. We wanted swimming pools, work out centers, and Buzz Elliot with United Way led the charge to go out to the community and find out what the people wanted. It’s a great day for Plaquemines Parish. This is exactly what we needed.”
Nungesser also thanked the Plaquemines YMCA board of directors for donating the land to build the community center, Councilwoman Banta for her commitment, and Bill Serpas for his dedication to the rebuild efforts.
The community centers are a result of a public-private partnership between Plaquemines Parish Government, FEMA, the YMCA, the United Way and a fundraising drive called the Plaquemines Legacy Campaign, which was sponsored by the United Way.
“This is a spectacular opportunity to position yourself for what the future’s gonna bring, not look at the past, but look at the future so you can say one day that your children and your grandchildren and their children learned how to be citizens, learned how to do the right thing and eventually they are able to do whatever dream they have in mind. That’s what this thing is about,” said Gary Ostroske, President of the United Way. Ostroske went on to thank the private sector contributors, who in total donated about $3,000,000, including Chevron-Oronite, Conoco Philips, Helis Foundation and Burke Kleinpeter, among others.
According to federal law, FEMA is only allowed to provide reimbursement funds for facilities that existed before Hurricane Katrina. The private funds enhance the FEMA buildings with new services and facilities that residents said they needed, but had not been provided at the parish facilities prior to the hurricane. In an effort to make the most out of the community centers, Plaquemines Parish partnered with YMCA to manage and run activities at each one.
“The YMCA is about three things, and we’re going to focus on three things and three things only. We want to make sure that every kid in this community has access to this facility. We want to make sure everyone in this community is healthier. We want this center to be the site for every discussion around social challenges, whether it’s the oil spill, hurricanes, preparation for future storms, government challenges, church challenges, this is the place that this community will call home to have those discussions. This is not just a Y, every other non profit in this community has a home in this center,” said David Ozmore President of the YMCA.
The Port Sulphur Community Centers opened earlier in September and the centers located in Boothville and Davant will have ribbon cuttings in the coming weeks. YMCA is building a fifth Community Center in Belle Chasse.