Ferriday leaders work on revitalization plan

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

FERRIDAY &045; Efforts by a citizen committee to help revitalize Ferriday’s downtown are picking up speed, according to members at the committee’s Tuesday meeting.

Papers are being drawn up now for the acquisition of the Arcade Theater &045; which sits on Louisiana Avenue, in the heart of Ferriday’s downtown, said Judith Bingham, executive director of the Ferriday Chamber of Commerce.

That building will be used as part of the Delta Music Museum, which is now housed in a nearby former post office building.

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The extra space would be used for performance and additional exhibit space as well as a mini-recording studio for children, representatives of the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office have said.

The Legislature, in its last session, appropriated $200,000 in capital outlay funds to, among other museum projects, acquire the Arcade building.

&uot;I’m not sure of the exact price (of the Arcade building) yet,&uot; Bingham said.

The project is part of Ferriday’s overall downtown revitalization plan.

That plan will also include building a new fire station at the First Street pavilion site, rebuilding the Pasternack Building into space for businesses and a senior citizen center, and doing sidewalk improvements and other upgrades.

Revitalization plans are available for viewing at Ferriday Town Hall, committee members said.

During Tuesday’s meeting, it was also reported that:

4Town Attorney Anna Ferguson is working on getting a 501(c)3 corporation set up for downtown revitalization. And the committee is selecting representatives of Ferriday’s civic groups to serve on the nonprofit’s board.

4Teresa Dennis, executive director of the Concordia Economic and Development District, is talking to owners of vacant properties downtown to see what their future plans for the properties are, such as selling or renting them out.

4Cathy Darden is attempting to find funding for a study of how much in revenues Ferriday is losing due to residents shopping in other communities.

Others suggested getting students from Louisiana Tech or the University of Louisiana at Monroe to do the analysis as a class project.

4Committee member Liz Brooking also said she would like to explore possible sources of grants downtown business owners could use to rehab the faSades of their buildings.

Brooking said similar programs have been successful in such towns as Tunica. The Natchez Downtown Development Association is also starting such a program.