LC Council calls Lakefront election

March 7, 2007
By Theresa Schmidt

Lakefront development can be put on the May 5th ballot now that Lake Charles City Council has approved. Before calling the election council members also approved an ordinance setting forth all the legalities.

If voters approve the Lakefront development plan will become part of the city charter. One out of town developer went before council urging that they go forward with the plan. He and three partners have acquired the Sprint tower and say they have big plans for residential and commercial development. "The ground floors are going to be retail and commercial. The upper three stories are going to be apartments. We want to see people coming in walking, bicycles. We want to see water taxis connecting this downtown areas to the casinos across the lake. We want to have boating, fishing, housing, shops, restaurants. Those are the concepts that we think are important to see in the downtown area."

Council Member Mike Huber says such development is just what they want. "That's what our voters need to hear. They need to hear that four people like you are going to come in and enhance our community, connect our downtown to our waterfront and enhance the whole downtown area and give us a true identity downtown."

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach says the plan provides protection to assure the public will always have access to the lake. "Each tract of land that we describe can basically have some type of commercial development on it. Where that development takes place, how that development takes place, that's going to be controlled by the development plan itself. The one thing that is consistent throughout the entire ordinance is that we preserve a right of public access to make sure that the public has the right to enjoy the Lakefront."

Council members appear pleased to get the issue before voters. Council member Dana Jackson said, "I think we've got something here we can send to the people. They can finally decide if they want Lakefront development or they don't. I think it's a great plan."

Voters will consider three Lakefront related propositions on the May 5th ballot. Within a week or so, citizens should be able to access details of the plan and proposal on the ballot by going to city's web site.  The Louisiana Bond Commission must approve the election, but that's expected to be routine.