Plans are in place to build a river walk in downtown Monroe - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Plans are in place to build a river walk in downtown Monroe

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Plans are in place to transform Monroe's downtown Rivermarket into a river walk that would allow you to walk or ride your bike a lot further along the river. Several downtown organizations are working together to create a metropolitan environment with amenities that other big cities have. Our Nolan crane spoke with the directors who say the project isn't cheap, but it is possible.

This river walk project is pretty expensive. it's going to cost about $3.5 million and one of the main reasons is because the ground, they're going to raise it about three feet, so when you look over the wall, you'll be able to see the river, the boats and everything else to create a more scenic view.

"If you want to ride a bike or if you want to walk you know that you can come to downtown, park in one particular place and you could take off and you could start hitting particular businesses, whether it's a restaurant or whether it be some type of retail stores," said Larry Bratton.

A lot of the area near the warehouse restaurant where the first phase of the river walk will be built is vacant property. If the project gets funded the grass and weeds near the parking lots could become prime real estate.

"It will allow for businesses to be open on the river side as well," said Myra Gatling-Akers.

Before doors open or any construction begins these power lines have to be moved so people's view isn't blocked.

"There are a lot of obstacles, we're not done yet but we've got the application in. We've got the footwork started, we've got some drawings, still a whole lot more work to do," said Brad Halloway.

"Everybody involved in downtown Monroe say it would be a big blessing if and when the city is able to get $3.5 million to build the river walk and they say there's other cities like Shreveport or San Antonio, Texas that they have seen and they want to try to have that same feeling right here in Monroe.

The president of the Ouachita Riverfront Development Commission says every year Louisiana lawmakers have to spend $300 million a year on capital outlay projects. If they get the money construction will begin in about two years. A team of engineers just finished a $65,000 study to make sure the project is possible and they say it is.

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