Alexandria Port improvements for Cool Planet underway

Construction has begun on infrastructure improvements at the Alexandria Port to accommodate incoming tenant Cool Planet Energy Systems.

Tudor Inc. started work Wednesday on the improvements, which include an operations center and other related infrastructure enhancements. The project is expected to cost $6.4 million and take a year to complete.

The plant, which is expected to employ 24 people, is Cool Planet’s first commercial facility. It will convert wood biomass into ready to use transportation fuel. The process also produces CoolTerra — a biochar-based agricultural product designed to increase crop productivity while reducing fertilizer and water requirements.

Funding for the port improvements was provided in partnership with the Red River Waterway Commission and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

“These project and the related construction infuse jobs and growth into our local economy and fuel not only success for the port, but our entire community,” said port Executive Director Blake Cooper.

“We are excited to see this first and large step relative to this project and look forward to many more milestones as Cool Planet moves forward with the facility,” said Bryon Salazar, president of the port’s Board of Commissioners.

Natchitoches Grand Hotel

Construction has begun on the Natchitoches Grand Hotel project.

The downtown hotel is expected to cost nearly $10 million to construct. The city of Natchitoches has approved $2 million to assist in financing the project.

Currently, Lafayette Street from Front Street to Rue Ducournau has been closed to traffic. Other street closures near the site are possible. City officials advise the public to use alternate routes in the area while construction continues.

Natchitoches Tri-Centennial honored

The Natchitoches Tri-Centennial has been named Festival/Event of the Year by the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association.

The celebration of the settlement’s 300th birthday included more than 150 events spread throughout 2014.

Also honored were Sabine Parish Tourist & Recreation Commission (Outstanding Convention and Visitors Bureau/Tourist Commission of the Year, budget from $250,000 to $749,999) and Cypress Bend Park (Campground RV/Park of the Year) in Many.

LTPA is a trade association dedicated to strengthening Louisiana’s tourism industry through promotion, education and advocacy.

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