Reported By: Katie Lopez
Downtown Lake Charles has had many face lifts over the years. There was the restoration of the old Mullers building and there are plans to turn the old Sears building into a hotel.
Once the older buildings are restored, the next step for downtown lake Charles is to continue the growth by re-shaping existing property.
Director of Downtown Development, Lori Marinovich says, "We're going to fill in some of the parking lots with new buildings."
The plans to put buildings where parking once was will not eliminate nearby parking.
"We're going to pull the buildings out to the street and the parking behind. So as you come out to the street you have a feeling of place, rather than a parking lot."
With all of this new development...Marinovich says the focus on the downtown area will still center on its historic value.
"It's clearly stated what the streetscape would look like, what the buildings would like, and height considerations. Also, how far they're set back so we can, as the buildings are coming up, still be sensitive to creating that sense of place. Everything makes a good workable, livable environment."
Now, not only is downtown developing so is the Lakefront. Voters voted back in May of 2007 to start developing the Lakefront, but haven't seen much of a change. Marinovich says plans are in the works, but it takes time and planning to start a project this massive.
"The public gets frustrated sometimes because development isn't happening quickly. We kind of lay the ground work, we do the real fun stuff like water, sewer, storm water, and streets. We get the land ready to build."
Marinovich says it is then up to the private enterprises to make development happen.
"The city can set the stage. The city can really put down the infrastructure and make sure development happens. We can invite the developers in and we can work on getting these market reports and presenting that to developers, but it is up to them if they want to develop."
If you have questions about downtown development, there will be an open meeting on Tuesday January 29 at City Hall.