Vidalia Riverfront project businesses should start to take shape by fall

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 10, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – If all goes as planned, the commercial portion of the Vidalia Landing development should start to take shape this fall – but local officials aren’t naming the businesses.

Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland confirmed Friday that a locally owned steak and seafood restaurant should break ground at Vidalia Landing later this year, probably in early fall.

He also said a national chain is expected to break ground in late fall on a hotel that is expected to have about 100 rooms.

&uot;It’s no one we can name just yet,&uot;&160;Copeland said, noting that representatives of the hotel chain still have to meet with members of the Riverfront Authority to finalize plans.

Ground should also be broken in the fall on the riverfront for a medical complex featuring imaging, ambulatory surgery, industrial medicine facilities and specialists’ offices, said Dr. John White.

White and Drs. Rus Fairbanks, Barry Tillman and Randy Tillman have been working with consultants throughout the U.S. for about two years to plan the facility.

Ground was originally scheduled to be broken this summer for Riverpark Medical Center, but getting permits and financing for the development and finalizing the facility’s floor plan have taken longer than expected, White said.

White said he was encouraged by a visit Sen. Mary Landrieu made to the riverfront site June 1. During that visit, Landrieu said that she believes chances are good for Vidalia to get federal money to fund construction of a visitors center at Vidalia Landing.

A riverwalk has already been finished at Vidalia Landing, and Riverview RV Park is already operating at the property’s south end.

An amphitheater north of the Mississippi River bridge is 60 percent complete, said Mike Grantham, owner of Camo Construction.

It is estimated that the development, which has been in the works since 1992, could bring 400 jobs to a parish with high unemployment.