Community reactions to downtown Monroe plans

Community responds to Downtown Monroe plan
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:47 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The City of Monroe hosted a community engagement meeting to get feedback on their strategic master plan for Downtown Monroe.

They outlined a one-year, five-year, and ten-year plan for the city to help revitalize downtown.

The one-year plan puts an emphasis on activating a river market and includes weekly or monthly events to entice businesses to invest downtown. It also calls for various street improvements, a dog park on the river, and the idea of making art alley a pedestrian only area.

The five-year plan focuses on the construction pf a downtown marina which will be the first location connecting the community to the Ouachita River. It also focuses on adding events to the grand plaza auditorium and adding more green space for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The ten-year plan outlines completing the downtown Riverwalk by developing bridge crossings over the Ouachita River. It includes making the Endom bridge for pedestrian use only, with hopes to entice shoppers from antique alley in West Monroe to Monroe. The plan also calls for more nightlife and residential apartments downtown.

Kelsea McCrary, the Chief Economic and Cultural Development Officer for the City of Monroe says they’ve heard a lot of feedback so far about creating a sense of belonging within the downtown area.

“The community has been very vocal about outdoor recreation, about utilizing downtown, about utilizing the riverfront, utilizing the water, so that’s very important to them, also we’ve heard a lot obviously about diversity and inclusion and this city is holding that as a high standard for how we go forward into phase three,” McCrary says.

McCrary says the city is primarily focused on meeting the community needs right now, but hopes the developments will eventually attract more visitors and residents in the future.

“This is about us stepping forward and having pride and having that sense of place about where were from, and being very proud of our food, our music, our people, our history, our scars, you know, what we’ve been through and how we’ve come out of that,” McCrary says.