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Revitalizing the South Side of Monroe

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Government leaders in the city of Monroe are working with a consultant to help revitalize the South side of town. Our Nolan Crane spoke with homeowners who call the south side home. They say they feel neglected and want to see things change.

Barbara Coats enjoys sitting on her porch reminiscing of how life on the south side use to be.

"People took pride in their homes you know. You didn't see any yards un-kept," said Barbara Coats.

A lot has changed since then, there are several abandoned buildings, windows are boarded up and signs of businesses that have left are what remain in several communities on the south side.

"A bank has been made into a liquor store on Jackson Street. My grandmother's house looks like it got run over by an 18 wheeler truck it's just trashy," said Coats.

A lot of homeowners are frustrated because they don't think enough has been done by city leaders to make improvements to the south side.

"I think we're just here and forgotten about, myself. That's just the way I feel and it shouldn't be like that because there are some good people down here," said Betty Hamaker.

Consultant Kent Burns was hired to drive around and to see the conditions homeowners are talking about and to present some plans to make changes. In his report he agrees with some of the criticism homeowners have and he says areas like the zoo can be improved to generate business.

Despite the problems, "There's so much drugs down here and I hear shootings at night," said Coats. This is where Barbara calls home and she says she isn't leaving and she will be patient as city leaders make plans for the future by looking back how life once was.

In the twenty page report Mr. Burns also found that there are few opportunities for job growth or activities for kids who call the south side home and as a result there is currently a sense of "no hope."

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