City Outlines First Series in Bond Money Projects

Reported By: Lee Peck

"It's time to focus on being a city again and the issues that were here before the storm," said Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach.

With that said there's a lot of work to be done with the first series of borrowed money from the 90 million dollar bond passed by voters in November of 2006. Of the 35 million dollars in borrowed money, Mayor Roach says local roads will receive 9.5 million dollars worth of improvements.

"We have the East McNeese Street extension, Power Center Parkway extension, Enterprise Blvd. extension Phase One, and the Lake Street expansion," explained Roach.

State and local roads will receive 1.6 million, which doesn't include 1.9 million dollars recently approved by Congress for additional I-10 service roads. There's also 11.3 million dollars set aside for utility improvements which include waste water projects around the city.

The long awaited Downtown/Lakefront Development Project will get a shot in the arm of 8 million dollars to begin much talked about projects such as the Lakefront Harbor, America's Wetland Center, as well as a new hotel along the lakefront. But when it comes to a developer Mayor Roach says, "We had originally anticipated that we would select one developer to work with. It doesn't have to be that way. Depending on the type of response we get from our interviews it may be that we would work with multiple. That still remains to be seen."

City parks are also set to see 2.5 million dollars in improvements. Roach says shaded areas for children to play will be built at parks in every council district.

An update on projects already underway, Ward Three's Adventure Cove is set to open possibly by mid to late February after a special surface for handicapped children is installed.

With more than 5 million dollars spent on the Lake Charles Civic Center, more than one million dollars is needed to finish renovations. "I think it's going to really add to the experience of all of the events that take place within the coliseum, not just Mardi Gras , but the different sporting events and other events that we have there."

There's also 2 million dollars for economic developement. Possible projects include: a business incubator parternering with McNeese State University; a Calcasieu Parish School Board Vocational Center and Wetlands Center.

And finally the old Sears building -- an eyesore for years... The city has reached a buy-sell agreement with a hotel developer to build a 100-room hotel. However, on the condition that the city demolish the existing site. The city is currently exploring several options to fund the demolition, including working with the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury to possibly be able to use some LRA funds.