Murray: Riverfront development on schedule

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 24, 2000

VIDALIA, La. — The first phase of site and infrastructure work for the Vidalia Landing riverfront development is running on schedule and should finished by July, Riverfront Authority Chairman Sidney Murray Jr. said Tuesday.

&uot;We hope to start pouring both the street and the (next) section of the walking track this week,&uot;&160;Murray said.

Since early December, Pickett Industries crews have been working on Vidalia Landing’s $1.66 million first phase — building an elevated walkway and an access road north of the Mississippi River bridge and a sewer lift station for the development’s RV park.

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Meanwhile, a capital outlay bill now before the Louisiana Legislature would provide $3.5 million for design and building of the projects and its infrastructure.

&uot;We hope to hear about that soon,&uot;&160;Murray said. The town has already gotten $1.9 million from the state for the riverfront project.

And local officials are still working with the federal government to get $13.3 million to build a visitors center at the site.

More than two weeks ago, local officials met with a representative of the Coast Guard who is reviewing Vidalia Landing and similar projects throughout the country to see for what government funds, if any, they could qualify.

That representative could contact Vidalia with his preliminary findings as early as next week, Murray said.

The $45 million development could include a visitors center, stores, restaurants, an amphitheater, condominiums, recreational fields and other attractions. A group of doctors has announced plans to build an outpatient surgical center there.

Dr. John White, a partner and spokesman of the group building the surgical center, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. But Murray said the group is now working on architectural plans for the center.

And work to extend sewer service to the Riverfront RV Park, to be located on the south end of the Vidalia Landing development, should begin next week, said Larry Chauvin, who is co-managing the park along with Cappy Stahlman. Infrastructure work should be completed by the end of July, and the facility should be ready for business by October.