Port of Lake Charles earmarks $3M for NHMSC

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Port of Lake Charles on Monday voted to commit up to $3 million over three years toward the building campaign for the National Hurricane Museum & Science Center, according to a news release from port officials.

The release states that Harry C. Hank, port commission president, approved the unanimous vote during the port commission's September meeting.

Hank said support from the panel is consistent with its mission.

"To actively create, facilitate and enhance benefits from maritime transportation and economic development for the benefit of its customers, stakeholders and the citizens of Southwest Louisiana," Hank said.

Port Executive Director Bill Rase agreed. He also placed special emphasis on the opportunities to educate the public about the benefits of the Calcasieu Ship Channel and of using its dredge materials for wetland restoration.

The release states that the board's resolution outlines that the port will reserve $1 million for each of three years, 2012-2014, to help build the center's facility on the lakefront area in Lake Charles.

"Contribution of the funds is contingent upon a cooperative endeavor agreement with the NHMSC. The port will create a committee among its members in order to recommend the appropriate courses of action for investing the funds," the release states.

Gary Stream, chairman of the NHMSC board, said that the museum and the port share a common mission.

"This action by the Port of Lake Charles once again demonstrates its leadership in economic development, and sends the message that our project has overwhelming local support," he said.

The National Hurricane Museum & Science Center mission is to educate the public about hurricanes and their impacts on people, property and our coastal wetlands.

The non-profit Center is currently raising funds toward its $70 million goal. Approximately $13 million has been raised or pledged thus far, and construction is scheduled to begin on the downtown lakefront of Lake Charles in three to four years, according to the release.

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