Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall (left) signs the formal Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the Red River Waterway Commission and the City of Alexandria as Red River Waterway Executive Director Colin S. Brown looks on Monday, Aug. 26, 2019 at the Alexandria Amphitheater.
The City of Alexandria will undertake a $5.2 million project that will result in significant upgrades to the downtown riverfront area and Amphitheater, Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall announced during a press conference, Monday, Aug. 26.
The project includes construction of a shell cover to the Alexandria Amphitheater stage, adding riverside parking and an access road, the addition of “Z” ramps and a terrace on the levee, as well as creation of ease of access stairway entry points with plaza entrances to the amphitheater area at Johnston Street and at DeSoto Street.
The planned improvements are in addition to the $1.5 million in improvements the city has recently made along the riverfront, including installation of better lighting in the area, as well as the creation of the Harbor Patrol police program.
The Red River Waterway Commission has agreed to provide more than $3.2 million in funding for the project with the City of Alexandria providing the remaining $2 million.
“This is a significant investment and we are very grateful to the Red River Waterway Commission for its support of this important project,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall.“ Developing our riverfront area is a critical component of our plan to revitalize downtown Alexandria, but we can’t do it alone. We need strong, visionary partners like the Red River Waterway Commission to achieve our goals as we work together to grow Alexandria.”
Colin S. Brown, Executive Director of the Red River Waterway Commission, said the plan to enhance and better utilize the riverfront area ties in well with the commission’s mission.“ Among its duties, the Red River Waterway Commission works to promote economic and recreational development along the Red River. The Alexandria Levee Park Riverfront Improvement Project will assist with both of those functions by bringing people to, and keeping them near, the downtown area and the Red River,” he said.
“We are excited to continue the great partnership with the City of Alexandria that began in 1989 with the initial construction of Alexandria Levee Park,” Brown added. “This project, coupled with other exciting developments in the City of Alexandria, such as the new CLTCC downtown campus, continues to improve the quality of life in the area and exhibits the vitality of not only the City of Alexandria, but the entire Red River Waterway.”
“The riverfront and the amphitheater are focal points for many of the activities we have downtown,” Hall said. “Whether it’s a major festival that attracts thousands of people or simply providing a place where students from the community college or visitors here for a convention can go and relax, we are working to ensure we have the facilities in place, as well as convenient access so people can enjoy the benefits of the Red River.”
Engineering and design work will begin immediately. That process is expected to take approximately a year including reviews by the Corps of Engineers and the Red River, Atchafalaya & Bayou Bouef Levee District.“ If everything stays on track and there are no delays, we hope to be advertising for bids a year from now,” Hall said. Construction would then start in November of 2020 with an estimated completion date of November of 2021.