Community reacts to City of Monroe’s plan to revitalize downtown

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 10:12 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The community is reacting to Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis’ plan to revolutionize downtown. Community leaders from business and education came to the Monroe City Council meeting on October 26th to voice their support.

“Downtown, in my opinion, is the heart of this community,” said Roy Heatherly, the President of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce. “Like a heart that pumps life to the body, downtown pumps life to every part of our city.”

Delta Community College Chancellor Dr. Randall Esters also supports the measure saying it will give his students more opportunities post-graduation.

“For every million dollars spent on rehabilitating an old historic building, we create 3.4 more jobs than if we create a brand new building,” explained Dr. Esters.

Roy Arthur owns Miro’s Restaurant just steps away from the site of the proposed development.

“I think it benefits all of our areas there,” said Esters. “It brings traffic there. It brings traffic to us. The housing, the hotels, it will be great.”

Representatives from the University of Louisiana Monroe were also present to put their weight behind the mayor’s proposal.

“A nice-looking, cool-looking downtown is great for recruitment for ULM.,” said Cheif Strategy Officer Seth Hall. “We all know the more students that ULM has, especially more students from out of town, that helps out our entire city and beyond.”

Aimee Kane with St. Francis Medical Center center says a vibrant downtown along with proposed housing will allow them to attract top talent and give patients a place to stay.

“So the more that we see things happening like this, more investment in our area, just strengthens what we are able to do in healthcare,” explained Kane, who serves as the Vice President of Business Development at St. Francis.

The plan also received unanimous support from the Monroe City Council. It will go to a final vote at the council’s next meeting.

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