Murray: Project could impact entire Miss-Lou

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 25, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – The economic impact of the Vidalia Landing riverfront development has the potential to reach every part of the Miss-Lou’s economy, said Riverfront Authority Chairman Sidney Murray Jr.

&uot;There’s more to this than just the money you get from leasing the land,&uot;&160;Murray said Friday. He was elaborating on comments he made during a riverfront update he gave to Vidalia aldermen during a Tuesday Board of Aldermen meeting.

The authority does not yet have figures on how much economic impact the riverfront development is expected to have – but it will be a boon for the whole area, Murray said.

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&uot;There will be an impact on the payroll of other businesses as jobs are created,&uot; Murray said.

Officials have said the development, which has been in the works since 1992, could bring 400 jobs to a parish with high unemployment and would attract more tourists.

In addition, an outpatient surgical center and other facilities planned for the riverfront will use much electricity, boosting the town’s revenue from utilities.

&uot;We’re talking about a six-figure (electric) load to the city,&uot;&160;Murray said. With those revenues, he added, &uot;the town will be able to provide more services.&uot;

Murray also asked aldermen to consider giving their stamp of approval to proposed lease rates for riverfront land. The authority has discussed leasing land there for $90,000 an acre, but no lease rates have been finalized yet, Murray said Friday.

He noted in Tuesday’s meeting that two companies are discussing with the authority the possibility of opening restaurants at the site, while another company is discussing bringing a hotel there.

&uot;We (authority members) are trying at numbers that will attract&uot; those types of developments, Murray added.

Much of the infrastructure needed for the $45 million development has already been finished.

The project’s second phase will include construction of an amphitheater, a fountain plaza, restrooms, landscaping and shaded seating, according to Murray.

As part of that second phase, advertising for bids for a riverfront amphitheater is expected to start in December, with advertising for bids for a fountain to start soon after that. A larger, digital river gauge arrived Tuesday and will soon be installed.

When completed, Vidalia Landing is also expected to include condominiums, recreational fields and other attractions. An RV park south of the Mississippi River bridge opened last month.