Landscape Designer Paxton Rooks with CARBO Landscape Architecture in Alexandria updated the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) on the progress of the City Park and Rue Beauport Riverbank renovation projects at its meeting Feb. 16.
City Park is almost 100 percent done, according to Rooks, but there are still a few punch list items that need to be taken care of. As residents have already seen, landscaping is finished and trees were installed. The last part is the sod, which should arrive late Monday night, Feb. 20 and be installed Tuesday, Feb. 21. Workers have also staked locations for bench and trash can installations, which should be completed soon.
Mayor Lee Posey said the City Utility Department was eager to install electrical outlets throughout City Park in the hopes that they will be able to utilize old set pieces and create a Christmas Walk Through City Park lighting display in years to come.
Rooks said they are making excellent progress on Rue Beauport, which is on schedule for its substantial completion date of Oct. 12. However, he said it may take another month to complete punch items, making Nov. 15 their “drop dead date.” Demo work is done and concrete pouring is underway. Next week workers will begin driving sheet piles for the north and south staircases. Work is continuing on the weekends in an effort to keep the project on schedule.
“As architects, it pains us to remove trees,” said Rooks. “What we put in our plan was in the best interest of the riverfront, the project and what we are trying to achieve. New trees of the same species will be replanted to replace the ones that were removed.”
Another project underway is the renovation of Lafayette Street between Front and Second Streets. The flat area near Front Street will be covered with brick pavers, while the hill going up to Lafayette’s intersection with Second will be lowered by 10 inches to make it safer for pedestrians and motorists.
In other business, David Stamey and Main Street Director Janna Jenkins presented a new idea that the Historic District Business Association and the City are currently ironing out the details on. Thirty-six Hours in Natchitoches is a “Insiders Weekend” experience for visitors to Natchitoches. An itinerary with events, activities and entertainment scheduled over a 36-hour trip will offer alternatives for visitors since the riverbank is closed for renovations. The trips will be offered on two weekends in June, July and August.
“We see this as something we can co-promote with the City,” said Stamey. “We want to give people reasons to come spend 36-hours in Natchitoches.”
Posey also announced a new concept: a community garden on Edwina Drive near the Detention Center. More information will be released as plans develop on this project.
“We know we’ll have growing pains the first year,” said Posey. “But we’re looking forward to future years.”