Monroe introduces new cultural district along Ouachita River

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:27 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Mayor Friday Ellis announced Friday the creation of a new cultural district in the City of Monroe.

The City of Monroe’s Communication Director Michelli Martin says Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and the Office of Cultural Development’s Division of the Arts has recognized Lida Benton as a New Cultural District.

Lida Benton is located in District 4, a district covering everything from South Grand to Jackson Street.

Martin added the following details about Lida Benton:

Certification as a Cultural District allows the area to benefit from two, targeted tax incentives–rehabilitation of older buildings may qualify for state historic tax credits and the sale of qualifying works of original art sold within the district are exempt from local sales tax.

The designation as a Cultural District also allows a local government to designate a Cultural District for the purpose of revitalizing a community by creating a hub of cultural activity and allows income and corporate franchise tax credits for eligible expenses for rehabilitation of owner-occupied or revenue-generating historic structures in a Cultural District.

Mayor Friday Ellis is excited for what this designation means for District 4:

“The designation of Lida Benton as a Cultural District comes at a time when the City of Monroe is working diligently to reinvest in and revitalize our city’s culture. Efforts are underway to boost our economic opportunities and the success of those efforts lies within our communities.”

Lt. Governor Nungesser says, “the District of Lida Benton has endless opportunities to leverage arts and culture along with the rich history of the neighborhood to help sustain community identity and elevate its heritage.”

The Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism has provided the economic impact of Cultural Districts in 2019 (this is the most recent data available):

  • Over 2 million people attended 2,323 cultural events
  • 389 new businesses opened, a net growth of 232 businesses
  • 337 commercial renovation projects began
  • Sales tax exemption on qualifying, original art sales directly benefitted:
    • 750 businesses
    • 3,501 artists
    • 661 events
    • 197 organization

The addition of The Lida Benton Cultural District brings the City of Monroe’s Cultural District count to two; The Riverside Cultural District was designated in 2008.

Top Half of Lida Benton Map
Top Half of Lida Benton Map(City of Monroe)
Bottom Half of Lida Benton Map
Bottom Half of Lida Benton Map(City of Monroe)

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