Vidalia Landing project work to begin

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 1999

VIDALIA, La. — It has been several years in the making, but work on the Vidalia Landing project — which town officials say will help attract tourists and could bring in up to 400 jobs — will begin today or Friday.

This week, Pickett Construction of Shreveport, La., is set to start site work for the first phase of the Vidalia Landing riverfront project. That phase will cost almost $1.66 million and will take 120 days to complete, said Mayor Hyram Copeland.

It will include construction of an elevated riverwalk north of the Mississippi River bridge, a road to the site and a sewer lift station for the riverfront development’s RV park.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;The acquisition of 300 parcels of land … and going to the state to ask for (financial) help were what took us so long,&uot;&160;said Sidney Murray Jr., chairman of the Riverfront Authority. &uot;As you can imagine, we’re excited about getting this started.&uot;

The Vidalia Board of Aldermen should accept bids in January for the second phase of the project, Copeland said. It would include lighting, landscaping, parking, benches, signage and a new river gauge.

The second phase should be finished by the end of summer 2000 at an estimated cost of $788,000.

Then aldermen would start advertising for bids for the third phase — what architects Ashe, Groussard and Weinzettle of Alexandria call &uot;the gateway center.&uot;

The facility would include an interpretive center on the history of Vidalia and the river; a state welcome center; a Vidalia archives; a community meeting room, a theater and Vidalia Chamber of Commerce offices. Architects have not yet come up with a cost estimate for the third phase.

When finished, the 58-acre development could include stores, restaurants, an amphitheater, condominiums, recreational fields and other attractions.

&uot;We’re already talking with a hotel company and some stores,&uot;&160;Copeland said. However, he would not give any specifics of those companies’ plans.

Non-construction traffic will be prohibited on the riverfront during the first phase unless approved by Copeland or Vidalia police. But that should not affect traffic to the West Bank Eatery, and people can use the old Coast Guard ramp to launch boats into the river.