Let the work begin

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Bids are in and the lakefront promenade will soon no longer be a topic of discussion - instead a reality - after the council approved Trahan Construction to build it for 3,679,800 dollars.

"And this will truly be a rebuild of the city and a revitalization of the downtown area and this is just one step, the next step leads to the next and there is more projects to come," said Councilman Mike Huber.

One coming to a shoreline near you is the Bord Du Lac floating marina.

"We're a waterfront community. We have a lot of boaters in the area and I think this is where we have to make our stand. We want to have a marina downtown," said Lake Charles boater Ben Garber.

The lowest responsible bid came in from F. Miller Construction for 1,757,315 dollars. It would be three piers. Piers A and B - holding a total of 27 slots, while pier C would give the city an additional 9 slots. Doug Sherman, owner of Bow Tie Marina, says it's excess the city won't need.

"You are never going to fill 36 slips, it would be nice but you reduce your costs if you eliminated pier C by 311,500 dollars," said Sherman.

"I would anticipate if development comes in like it should, we may actually wind up having a shortage of boat slips," said Councilman Marshall Simien.

Denver Kaufman, theatre manager at the Lake Charles Civic Center, is among a handful of people who say the demand is there. Kaufman has seen countless first time boaters visit and return.

"They came in because they had never been here before and they have come back and anchored out there in the lake because they were self-contained but they would come in and dock if there was a dock," said Kaufman.

"If in Houston one person hears they're coming down, 5 more will hear about it," said Irene Howse, Commander of the Lake Charles Power Squadron.

"Like the man at the Civic Center, I own Ship to Shore and we constantly get calls where can we bring our big boats? And I have no doubt you have the need for it. Like you said it's a cost effective way to build enough spots so that you can prepare for future growth," said Sharon Faulk.

And the council agreed, approving work to begin. The promenade project is expected to begin in May following the Contraband Days Festival. But don't expect to see much work on the marina project immediately, while work will begin right away most of the parts have to be shipped in - and you'll likely see real construction some time mid-summer.