West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell gave an overview of past, ongoing and future projects at the annual State of the City luncheon Tuesday, with the star of the show being the upcoming indoor sports complex.
The complex, a joint project between the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau and the City of West Monroe, is set to be completed in early 2022. The nearly 100,000-square-foot sports complex will feature eight basketball courts that can also double as 16 volleyball courts or 16 pickleball courts. The complex will be situated near the Ike Hamilton Center near the existing cluster of hotels, and it will be used to host a variety of events, ranging from cheer competitions to basketball tournaments.
“It will be a very versatile, multi-use facility and be a tremendous economic driver,” Mitchell said. “That is its number one purpose for our area.”
Mitchell said the indoor sports complex is estimated to have an annual economic impact of $22.5 million and a $1 billion impact over 30 years. The facility is expected to create about 300 new part-time and full-time job positions as well. The complex is currently in the design stage.
According to Alana Cooper, president and CEO of the visitors bureau, the complex has been an ongoing project for a couple of years. After looking at the research, they found that putting the complex near the hotels would help bring revenue to those businesses.
In addition to the sports complex, Mitchell discussed projects under construction:
- Endom Bridge realignment
- Adding trails alongside wetland in Highland Park
- Industrial Park drainage
- FEMA acquisition of repetitive flood properties
- Street striping
FEMA has been acquiring properties that have flooded multiple times to demolish them, which would then go back to the city.
Looking to the future, Mitchell said the following projects are in their early design stages:
- New Drago sewer lift station
- Reconstruction of Kiroli Road Bridge
- Improvements to Black Bayou Canal to reduce flash flooding
- Otis Street Rehabilitation
- Natchitoches Street Rehabilitation
- Adding sidewalks to Arlene Street
- Highland Park Commercial Infrastructure
Future projects include a new Austin Street lift station and Mid City Connector, a collection of various projects dedicated to adding sidewalks, lighting and weather resilience to popular streets like Trenton Street, Stella Street and Coleman Avenue.
Mitchell also discussed the city’s finances, saying that West Monroe had a 4% increase in revenue. The city received $9 million in federal grants last year, the most it’s ever received in that time frame, and Mitchell said these funds will be used for match grants.
Mitchell emphasized that most of the city’s funding comes from sales taxes and encouraged attendees to shop locally in West Monroe.
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