Central Dairy Barn phase two renovations begin

In the next few weeks, there will be obvious changes to the Central Dairy Barn.
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 5:41 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:22 PM CST
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PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - In the next few weeks, there will be obvious changes to the Central Dairy Barn, as an infusion of state funding paves the way for phase two of exterior renovations.

“In the next few weeks you’re gonna see lap siding going up on the West Wing, new paint,” said KC DiStefano, with Pan American Engineers. “Hopefully, as the money comes in, we’ll be able to work our way around the barn.”

The nearly 100-year-old landmark caught the attention of local and state leaders in 2019, earning the barn $250,000 for repairs to the sides and roof of the structure. Prior to 2019, $70,000 made renovations to the North Wall facing Highway 165 possible.

However, due to pandemic-related labor and material shortages, the project has taken longer to complete and initial funds are no longer sufficient. Now, the state funds will only cover two-thirds of phase two renovations. Local lawmakers look to get the remainder of the funds needed in the 2022 legislative session.

Pandemic shortages and nationwide natural disasters have also led to an iconic element of the barn to stop being mass-produced. Red shingles are a specialty color, so for now, Bayou Rapides Corporation, the renovation company on the project, remains on a waiting list for when production begins again.

Future use of the barn will also be up to the state, but the non-profit Save the Dairy Barn at Buhlow Lake hopes they will have a seat at the table in what it should be used for next.

”Our vision would be to turn it into some kind of events center where you can have weddings, concerts, farmer’s markets and those kinds of events that the public could have access to, and that’s what we would push for,” explained Nathan Martin, a committee member. “But others may have better ideas and may have more funding to make that happen. We just want to make sure that the Dairy Barn stays in use for the citizens of Pineville and continues to shine as a beacon on the hill.”

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