Jennings residents excited about downtown possibilities - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Jennings residents excited about downtown possibilities

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JENNINGS, LA (KPLC) -

Green's Cafe in downtown Jennings is a business that's been around for about a year. Opened by the current Miss Jennings, Olivia Green and her family, they say the community has welcomed the business openly. 

"Lots of support and our business has probably doubled since we've opened which is just wonderful" Green said. "The community has just been a big help." 

While business is flourishing at Green's Cafe, residents know that's not the same for the rest of Jennings' historic downtown neighborhood. 

"It kind of died down and Main Street went for a dive," said longtime Jennings resident La Nell Trahan. "Then, they're starting to bring it back up."

Trahan recalls growing up in the downtown area at a time when the city's center, Main Street, was alive and kicking with activity.

"We used to have LC skating rink down on Highway 90 that we would go roller skating on the weekends ... parents could drop us off and have a night on their own while we skated till midnight and had fun." said Trahan. 

Through new plans to revitalize downtown, the city hopes to bring that sense of fun back. By proposing a four part project that would include moving city hall and constructing new buildings for public works offices and a new city court. All projects Jennings Mayor Terry Duhon hopes will attract more people into downtown. 

"It's an economic development project," Duhon said. "We're hoping to bring in future businesses here. It's more than just a City Hall and new city court and redoing our police and fire departments." 

The city plans on funding the project by asking voters in the December election to vote to renew the penny sales tax - a tax that residents say they don't mind paying if it means the revitalization of their hometown. 

"It's just a continuation is what it is, so it's not anything new" said Jennings resident Colin Fake. "We're paying off the sewer project so we got some money available and that'll pay for the majority of it so it's not a big problem."

Trahan agrees.
 
"Yes, I do support it because it will get our town back to where it used to be when we were kids," she said.

And Green is confident in her city to come through when it counts.
 
"I will and I think others will just because we have a very generous town and also most of them probably agree with me in that we want to see the downtown Jennings area grow," Green said.

Growth that now lies in the hands of voters. 

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