DDA hears from downtown stakeholders

DDA hears feedback from downtown business owners

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - They requested feedback from stakeholders and Tuesday night the Lake Charles Downtown Development Authority got it. Business owners and employees went before the DDA members and voiced their concerns and suggestions about where they would like to see progress made.

Dave Evans, owner of Luna Live and Luna Bar & Grill, applauded the DDA and City of Lake Charles on the Ryan Street Streetscape Project.

"I think it looks great. It's not in front of my business yet but I'm anticipating it will cause some disruption, but I think the outcome will be worth it," said Evans. "I am concerned with lack of parking. That continues to be a problem. I wish you guys would come up with a plan - even temporary - like using the old Sears building property as a parking lot a the corner of Division and Ryan until something happens there."

"Miss Vidrine and myself brought that up to the Mayor today. Miss Vidrine has been on a campaign for two months now to try and get some use out of that property," said Bill Sherman, Downtown Development Authority.

Chris Monticello and Yska Rossitto are set to open Horsepower Bar & Grill at the corner of Lakeshore Drive and Clarence Street. They encourage the DDA to take a pro business approach and generate more big business and new customer base.

"I just hope something can happen because it's been a long time and there's been a lot of talk, talk, talk and not much has happened. I hope you guys will work and make something happen," said Monticello. "Allow businesses to come in and ask them what you can do to help them succeed. And let them know how much you want them in downtown Lake Charles."

"We need to develop downtown. 120,000 cars go over that bridge on average per day. How many are we pulling in to eat, stop and get a tank of gas, site see? Not a lot," said Rossitto.

Others believe lack of signage is holding back potential customers who may not know what downtown has to offer.

"I work downtown and there is a lot going on. It's a shame we can't put any signs on the Interstate saying get off here downtown restaurants and live music. There are a lot of hardworking people downtown who would welcome the traffic," said Haylie Loftin, Fat Cat Cafe employee.

The DDA said it's exactly what they wanted to hear from the people who know downtown Lake Charles best.

"We really want to work with the downtown businesses and promote what we have. We really want to know if we are on track with what the people want. We welcomed all the comments - good and bad - and hope people will continue to get involved and help us make downtown Lake Charles the best it can be," said Jonald Walker, DDA President.

If you would like to stay up with the DDA their meetings are generally held on the first Monday of every month.

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