State approves $1.5M for riverfront

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 21, 2000

VIDALIA, La. — Sidney Murray Jr. said the Vidalia Riverfront Authority won’t have any trouble finding ways to spend $1.58 million in state funding.

The State Bond Commission on Thursday approved the capital outlay money for the Vidalia Landing riverfront development, said Murray, chairman of the town’s Riverfront Authority.

Actually, the commission had already approved $3.48 million for the project last year. Vidalia received $1.9 million for the project last year, and Thursday’s meeting cleared the way for the town to get the remainder of the money.

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Selling bonds and filling out the paperwork necessary to receive the funds will probably take less than one month, Murray said.

Meanwhile, Murray will meet with architect Doug Ash of Alexandria to hear recommendations on what the funds should be spent for, then convene the authority’s board to get approval for the expenditures.

&uot;It could be used for work on the amphitheater, completing the riverwalk and a fountain plaza and putting in some seating structures, but I’m not sure just yet,&uot;&160;Murray said. &uot;We’ll have no trouble finding a way to spend that money.&uot;

The development’s first phase — which is basically finished, Murray said — included constructing the part of the development’s riverwalk north of the bridge, a boat ramp and widening and curving a street to the site.

Construction of the next phase, Phase 1B, will include paving a parking lot for the development, installing lighting and installing a new Mississippi River gauge.

When it is completed, the $45 million development could include a visitors center, stores, restaurants, an amphitheater, condominiums, recreational fields and other attractions.

A group of Natchez doctors is now working on plans to build an outpatient surgical center there.

And the Riverview RV Park, which is located at the south end of the development, should be open in time for the Jim Bowie Festival in early September.