Downtown West Monroe street closes to become "Alley Park"

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WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE) Big changes are coming to Antique Alley in Downtown West Monroe.

A section of Natchitoches Street between Commerce and Trenton Streets has been permanently closed off to vehicular traffic, so the spot can be used to host events.

It's now called "Alley Park."

It's an idea the West Monroe Downtown Revitalization Group created nearly seven years ago.

"What we thought we were missing was some kind of central gathering area where we could host outdoor events or that if we're having something downtown," said Karen Laban, a member of the Downtown West Monroe Revitalization Group, and the owner of the Spice and Tea Exchange.

"It's just a great time to be downtown and it just gives us like I said that focal point in the center of town," said Laban

West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell agrees.

"It's something that's very much wanted and will just add to the attractiveness and just the experience of going downtown," Mitchell said.

Before closing off the street, the Revitalization Group made sure it wouldn't affect nearby businesses.

"What we found was there was that directly faces the street and so it's not like we're closing out a store front," said Laban.

However, a few store owners are afraid it will take away extra parking spaces and the handicap spots, but Laban says it won't.

"We have relocated the handicap parking," Laban said.