Crosswalk and other developments help beautify University Parkway Corridor

Drake Owens, executive director of the NSU Foundation, and Steve Kauf, general manager at Sodexo, spoke at the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon on Feb. 20. They discussed some of the new additions to NSU, like Cafe DeMon and Chick-fil-A. Adding amenities like these to Northwestern’s campus benefits the educational and cultural welfare of the university’s students, faculty, and staff.

An exciting upgrade to the University Parkway corridor will be the installation of a push button, multi-flash pedestrian crosswalk at its intersection with North Street. Construction should begin within 2 months. Some of the sidewalk on the North Street side will need to be repaired and a sidewalk will be poured on the Watson Library side of the street. Owens said they’re close to getting the project permitted and approved and a public hearing will be held soon.

This is in response to increased traffic through the area with the addition of the new parking lot in front of Watson Library for better public access to Cafe DeMon, and the NSU Marketplace and Chick-fil-A across the street. Students will be able to access these amenities with the assurance of a safe walk across the busy street.

The university will continue to explore additional public-private partnerships, which is what will get NSU into the future and sustain the economic growth they’re experiencing now, according to Owens.

Kauf said he appreciates NSU’s open-mindedness toward these new partnerships. Having a coffee shop and restaurant that are open to the public as well as the campus, makes it a more viable business model in the long run. The Chick-fil-A is the first off campus, open to the public, licensee of its kind in the nation, according to Kauf. It served 25,000 nuggets in the first three days it was open, along with 450 gallons of lemonade.

Some upcoming projects NSU is working on include:

Partnership with City in regards to Parc Natchitoches and NSU Intramurals

Seeking more property along University Parkway to enhance/increase the footprint of the campus

Looking into what NSU’s role can be in the rehabilitation of the old ADM facility on Mill Street

Is there a need for more housing development?

Work is underway on a contract, which would bring a Steak n’ Shake to the Student Union

13 thoughts on “Crosswalk and other developments help beautify University Parkway Corridor

  1. Yes! I agree with both Art and Steve.
    The crosswalk doesn’t stop traffic immediately when the button is pushed. It works well in Memphis at Graceland and that’s 4-6 lanes of traffic- real traffic! Students have needed a crosswalk here for many years, not just now. It is lucky that no one has been run over by a vehicle. I don’t understand why folks are against growth and progress in this “town” and NSU.
    I am, however, totally against the “housing project” that should never be forgotten on 2nd St. in the historical district. I wonder whom on the city council let that slip in, although I hope it has been permanently deleted. That complex (by the KA house) should be renovated apartments for NSU students as it was when first opened.
    Come on- let Natchitoches grow all around downtown. Keep the historical district, but 4-lane and build around the University, rid slum areas, fill the old “cotton gin” area with life— businesses and lively entertainment. More students might decide to come and enjoy life instead of being online. Maybe we could get another classroom building over by the columns, with the architecture of Caldwell Hall. Too many of the beautiful old buildings are gone — the campus has lost a lot of its’ individuality and personality.
    I think, too, acreage along Sibley Lake Bypass should have been zoned strictly for dining, entertainment and hospitality —another Natchitoches goldmine! Here again, just a thought—why is a home health and car rental business on the banks of a beautiful lake? But, have no fear, little will change.

  2. You do realize that University is the main way for getting into town from the west side, right? Now we’re going to stop morning traffic every time a student wants a biscuit? Plus, when did that side of University become “campus?”

    • The traffic on University will become as bad as the traffic on Jefferson Street. If a crosswalk is needed why not put in an elevated one. How does a crosswalk beautify anything?

    • NSU purchased the property that is now The least that’s my understanding. If I’m wrong about that, someone please correct me. But if true, then that is part of the campus.

      And yeah, an elevated cross walk would be great and would resolve both the safety and traffic issues. Maybe that’s on the drawing board for future development. It’s also my understand the university has designs on purchasing additional property on that side of University Parkway.

  3. When only have 30 minutes for lunch it will take longer to get to where you’re going with this although it will be safer for the students.

  4. I think this is a great idea. Safety first is always a good thing. I will be starting employment at the NSU Marketplace Campus Bookstore next week as the Course Materials Manager. During the early part of each semester the foot traffic is at an all time high when the students are purchasing or renting their textbooks. Thanks to all parties that made this a reality.

  5. This article is full comedy, beginning with beautifying University blvd with a cross walk to benefiting educational and cultural welfare with a fast food fried chicken restaurant and a coffee shop! I’m at a loss for words, and a little embarrassed in fact.

  6. A controlled crosswalk on University Parkway is long overdue as the north side of the street continues to develop commercially. It will make life safer for students and other pedestrians.

    • Waaahhhhh! Waaaahhhh!!! Instead of whining, people should be kissing NSU’s backside for making this town somewhat inhabitable. Without them all you have is a crap Walmart and a bunch of shootings.

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