Leaders cut ribbon on Vidalia Landing

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 1999

VIDALIA, La. – A bright but windy morning chilled spectators at the ribbon cutting for the Vidalia Riverfront Project Wednesday.

Construction on the 58-acre development Vidalia Landing will begin within the next few days, said Mayor Hyram Copeland.

In opening remarks to 35 to 40 business and community leaders from both sides of the river, Copeland recalled the early days of the development.

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&uot;I remember our first meeting in 1992 when some people didn’t think it would be a reality,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m here to tell you it is.&uot;

Picket Construction of Shreveport will begin work on the project in the next few days, he said. &uot;It’s been seven long years, but it’s finally here,&uot; Copeland said.

Former Vidalia Mayor Sidney Murray Jr. dedicated the project to the residents of old Vidalia. &uot;We’re dedicating this project to all the old residents from 1938,&uot; he said, referring to the time when the original town of Vidalia moved west from the Mississippi River so that the river channel could be widened.

&uot;They were the people who made the move and bore the hardship,&uot; he said.

The first phase of construction for Vidalia Landing will be called the Riverwalk and will follow the course of the original Carter Street in the old town, providing shelters along the route. The master plan for Vidalia Landing in includes an ampitheater, gateway center, boat ramp, restaurants, hotel and conference center and commercial properties.

Vidal Plaza will be the center of the new complex and will be located near the old ferry landing, Murray said.

Concordia Parish police juror and Riverfront Authority member Fred Faulkenheiner symbolically cut the ribbon on the new project with a large Bowie knife.

Cappy Stahlman, developer of a new recreational vehicle park down river from the Vidalia Landing site, was also pleased to see the new development officially launched. &uot;This is a good deal,&uot; he said, referring to the new riverfront development. &uot;The center of the bridge is the center of the Miss-Lou,&uot; he said, adding that growth along the river front will greatly enhance tourism and trade within the region.

The second phase of the project will include lighting, landscaping, parking, benches, signage and a new river gauge and should be completed by the end of summer 2000.

The first two phases of construction are expected to cost more than $2 million. No cost estimate has been fixed for the last stage of construction.