Couple enjoys life one step at a time

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 6, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – Dwayne and Liz Sikes spent Saturday afternoon walking in one of their favorite spots.

It’s the same spot Vidalia officials hope other residents — and visitors — will enjoy once a riverwalk, RV&160;park, amphitheater and other developments are built on 58 acres along the river.

For now, the Sikeses say they are among just a few people who enjoy the view in the sparsely wooded area north of the Mississippi River bridge.

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The couple began walking two years ago for exercise, accompanied by their dog, Billy, a Scottish terrier and poodle mix.

&uot;We want to try to get to 5 miles a day,&uot; Liz said. For now, they walk about 2 miles along the river, and they try to walk as often as they can.

The couple have been married about five years and have lived in Vidalia for about 10 years.

&uot;It’s hard not to know everybody,&uot; Dwayne said as he stopped to chat with friends driving by in a pickup truck.

And the Sikeses are pleased Vidalia officials are working to improve the area along the river.

The first phase of the Vidalia Landing project will include construction of an elevated riverwalk, a road to the site and a sewer lift station for the riverfront development’s RV park. The first phase will cost almost $1.66 million, city officials have said.

Workers have poured the concrete for a public boat landing, Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland said Sunday.

&uot;And we hope within the next few weeks they’ll start pouring the concrete for the riverwalk and the street,&uot; he said.

Copeland said he has heard some interest from businesses that want to locate in the riverfront area — including a 6,000 square-foot restaurant he could not name.

On Feb. 25, the Vidalia Board of Aldermen plan to accept bids for the next phase of construction, which will include lighting, Copeland said.

&uot;It looks extremely good,&uot; Copeland said. &uot;We’re looking forward to the project.&uot;

The Sikeses didn’t realize how nice the scenery was until they began making their own river walk two years ago.

&uot;I didn’t realize how pretty it was,&uot; Dwayne said.

&uot;It’s real nice, especially in all of the different seasons,&uot; Liz said.

Dwayne, who works across the river at International Paper’s Natchez mill, said he thinks the riverfront development will benefit both sides of the river.

&uot;It’ll be a while before things are built, but hopefully they’ll be finished with the riverwalk this year,&uot; he said.

The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter throws a dart at a map and finds a story wherever it lands.