Update from the Mayor: New Construction, Upgrades and Expansions

Lions_City Mayor Update 05-2017

Mayor Lee Posey and Dallas Russell with the City of Natchitoches spoke to the Lions Club May 15.

Posey gave the following updates on projects:

The Riverbank renovation is on schedule. The riverbank is only losing 20 parking spots, despite rumors with higher numbers, but Posey said he doesn’t feel like the City is ready for a parking garage yet.

The City is working with NSU on the planned construction of a Sports Recreation Center, which will provide room for baseball, softball and soccer tournaments. There is also a walking trail in the works. They hope to go out for bidding this fall with an estimated completion date in the Spring of 2019.

Renovation work on parks in the community. Bathrooms will be added at City and Pierson-Mallet Parks.

Infrastructure upgrades (water, sewer, drainage) including the $ million Master Lift Station project. There should be $1-2 million in street work during the next fiscal year.

Cleaning sludge out of Chaplain’s Lake, which the barge system is removing slowly.
Being aggressive on tearing down blighted houses to improve the overall community quality.

New downtown bridge: An engineering firm was hired to conduct the environmental phase of the project, which should take 1-2 years. This includes traffic counts from every direction, which is currently underway. The debate over where to build a detour bridge is ongoing. If it’s built alongside the new bridge construction it would increase traffic congestion in the downtown area and a 1-1.5 year project could easily become a 2-3 year project.

South Drive Expansion Project: In the original plans, the next phase of the three-lane expansion of South Drive would have included the section between Hancock and Parkway. Considering the danger the narrow, 75-year-old bridge at the intersection by the Fish Hatchery the project was changed to extend from Hancock to the intersection. This would include a new bridge and possibly a traffic circle where the traffic light is currently. The bad part about the new scope of this project, in addition to increasing the price, is the increase in the time it will take to complete. The plan is to overlay South Drive from Hancock to Parkway in the meantime.

The proposed construction of the Cane River Brewery on Mill Street ran into some problems getting approval for tax credits from the state a month ago, but plans are to still go through with the new business.

Two tennis courts were added at the recreation parks area behind East Natchitoches Middle School through a grant with USTA. The City is excited to host its first tennis tournament this Saturday.

When asked about possibly adding an indoor pool that could be used for retirees and swimming meets, Posey said it’s a high ticket item, but the City is looking into it. However, the natatorium on the NSU Campus is too outdated and will probably be leveled in the future.

Russell spoke to the club about hosting an activity booth at the City Park Grand Reopening Celebration Saturday, June 3 from 10 am – 1 pm. Activity Booths are still needed for this event. Your organization must be a non-profit, church, government agency or educational institution. You must provide a hands-on activity. You must stay for the entire event. You must offer free activities. You must provide your own tent, tables and chairs. The deadline for booths is Friday, May 19. Ideas for activity booths include: carnival games, arts & crafts, field games, board games, trivia, etc…

For more information email Dallas Russell at DRussell@natchitochesla.gov or Corey Poole at NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

16 thoughts on “Update from the Mayor: New Construction, Upgrades and Expansions

  1. Before the now completed project to add a passing lane to South Drive was started, the old top layer of paving was removed in order to provide for a new roadway. South Drive from just south of the Royal Street to the Cane River bridge at the Fish Hatchery was graded and the existing black top removed leaving a street in bad need of repair. Perhaps I missed the follow ups, but I believe the published plan was to repave this stretch of the street along with providing a passing lane further north on South Drive. Is there a plan to repave this area? If not, why was this part of the street destroyed? And if there is a plan to repave, why was it necessary to remove the top layer so far in advance? Granted, heading north and leaving this stretch of unrepaired road certainly makes me appreciate the new street especially after turning onto South Drive from Fish Hatchery Road where I live.

  2. All this information and dreaming mentioned yet not one mention of completing the bypass from Hwy 1 South eastward across Cane River to Hwy 6 East/Grand Ecore Road. This would eliminate traffic congestion in downtown dramatically yet this isn’t #1 on the agenda! So much attention to details of appearance yet people have to fight traffic issues and spend 30 minutes to get across town. What’s more important?

  3. Yes…definitely agree that Natchitoches needs an indoor, climate controlled lap pool. I’ve never understood why one was not included in the original plans for the N.S.U. Wellness, Recreation, and Activity Center (WRAC) as this could significantly increase their membership, and thus, their revenue.

  4. Quite frankly, in my opinion, I did not agree with spending millions of taxpayer dollars in building the new La. Sports Museum, at a time when the state of Louisiana cannot provide adequate healthcare, education, infrastructure, or economic development. Not to mention the design is absolutely hideous, sticking out like a sore thumb in the otherwise beautiful Historic District.

    If the powers that be were determined to create a new space for the La. Sports Museum, (which had been housed for years in Prather Coliseum) the campus of N.S.U. would have been a much more appropriate location. The use of that space for badly needed downtown parking, or any of a number of civic projects, would have been much more beneficial for the citizens of Natchitoches, as well as the taxpayers of Louisiana.

    • I agree,Annie
      I do not get the sports complex either,it looks out of place where it is .
      And how did they get approval for it ? you can barely do anything in
      historic district with act of god .

  5. Glad to see that progress is being made and more projects planned for the future. As far as I know no parking spaces on Front St were loss because of the Sports Museum or the new hotel

  6. Oops, I just missed the first paragraph of the article. It lets us know right off the bat that the mayor has already determined that “we don’t need a parking garage”. May I ask the mayor where he expects us to park? Not all people can park and walk 10 blocks or more to where they need to go. Mayor, maybe you should get some more advice on this issue.

  7. The way parking spaces are disappearing downtown, maybe the city should think about finding a spot for a parking garage. I know this is something Natchitoches has never thought of, as that would take away from the historic look of the city, as if another building didn’t, but it’s time they thought of providing parking for the people who work, shop, or just visit downtown.

  8. What about an outlet mall on i49.? How many customers live within 35 miles? Some people just don’t want to go to shreveport or alexandria. What’s left? Walmart! Or would this take away from the precious front st and it’s over priced trinket shops for the tourist? Or does it go against some little known under the table deal with walmart! Why is it that natchitoches leaders can find money for jails ,tourists ,and the precios historic district, but not for roads, residents and schools. Time for a change in leadership.

    • I can put in one prospective. I saw the city of Natchitoches the first time about six years ago. I came as a visitor due to a business related trip. However, I can tell you Front Street, the historic district and water front are outstanding and rare in this day and age. Don’t ruin the biggest draw of this town. People come here for it’s charm. Ruin that and see what happens. PS. I like it so much I moved to this parish. Every time I come to Natchitoches to go to the movies, eat out, shop or on business, I still think it’s the prettiest little town in the state, perhaps the south. And I take great pride in showing out of state and out of country friends and showing off this beautiful city. The Historical society should be commended, although I still don’t see how they approved that hideous sports museum… lol.

      • Hello Marthajane Morris,
        Thank you for your perspective. I’ve been in and out of Natchitoches since my pregnant mother came here in 1986 and it eventually became my home. Raised in Branson. Just this week, my half-sister came down to visit me and I brought her to front street. Her first time being here. We agreed that the Sports museum was ugly and that it looked like a World Trade Center on its side (which if it were, that would be cool like a tribute…but it’s not). As for the stripmall, that would be nice to have near the IHOP overpass.

  9. I sure would like to see the City of Natchitoches put in a indoor pool for the retired/senior citizens of this area and any new ones thinking about moving to Natchitoches. As someone who has arthiritis, this is one of the best exercises that we can have and need. If you have to charge a membership fee for it then just make it affordable for the senior citizens and having swim meets there would be great. There are several public pools in Natchitoches for the kids to go to but it is hard to go to those because there are so many children there. I see where the Mayor says this is a high ticket item, but so are a lot of other things that he is doing, and intending to do, but this seems to be very low down on his list of things he wants for Natchitoches, and the retired/seniors who live here deserve something for us too. We pay taxes just like everyone else and a lot of times we are not remembered when it comes to doing something for the older citizens of Natchitoches. Just my opinion, but I think this is something we need here in Natchitoches.

  10. Loss of 20 parking spaces with riverfront renovation ++ how many parking spaces lost with the construction of the sports museum ++ how many parking spaces lost with the costruction of st denis hotel … can the leadership of natchitoches count or hope no one notices , but then they have a parking spot downtown!!!!

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