Revitalizing Downtown: The City of Monroe has big plans for several spaces in downtown

Local News

MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The City of Monroe has announced plans to revitalize more spaces in downtown. According to the city, Mayor Ellis and other city leaders have intentions to purchase four properties, including the former Ouachita Candy Company, and turn them into mixed-use facilities.

The city says they are planning to buy 205, 209, 215, and 305 Walnut Street in District 4. The plan is to make these mixed-use buildings, meaning these buildings can be used for two or more reasons like housing, offices, retail, entertainment, institutions, and/or restaurants, according to the city.

Mayor Ellis says he is excited about the intended purchase of the building because, “it is one of the last
pieces of developable property on the riverfront. With this purchase, we will be able to proactively
position Monroe to further enhance the quality and content of future development and growth.”

Ellis went on to say, “Monroe’s history as a “river city” is both our legacy and our future. It is our
responsibility to develop our riverfront to its fullest potential for all our citizens and our long-term
economic well-being. This purchase will be an important step in allowing us to define our riverfront
and downtown area as a vibrant destination for visitors and an important part of overall quality of
life.”

City officials tell us there are several organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs from downtown and across the city, that have submitted letters of support for the purchase and development of the building.

Roy Heatherly, President of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce writes, “Like the heart, a strong downtown will pump life into all areas of our city and in our region… I recognize the importance of supporting this project and in supporting our downtown businesses with the much-needed economic prosperity that this development will bring to all parts of our great city.”

Barry Stevens, President/CEO of the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council writes, “Recognition of the value of an existing property, properly restored and reimagined shines a bright light on the character of a community. There is considerable value in the cultural integrity of Monroe for that facility to be resurrected and used in a way that can enhance the cultural development of downtown Monroe.”

According to the city, the purchase price of the building is around $1.4 million dollars. The funds to pay for this building will come from excess sales tax revenues. The city says this is a non-recurring expense that will not impact any of the city’s other allocated funds. Mayor Ellis says he has reached out to and is sitting down with Monroe City Council members for a more in-depth breakdown of the intended purchase.

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