Downtown Development hopeful in 2009

Allison B. Hudson
pictured is “Dora the Explorer,” the grand marshal from the Christmas parade hosted by the Downtown Development District.

“These events can only get better, and we plan to continue doing all we can for the betterment of Donaldsonville,” said Rodgers.

Historic Building Restorations

The DDD has a list of all historic commercial properties in the district that has completed exterior improvements or has begun the process within the past year, not to mention this list includes 22 commercial buildings.

Infrastructure Projects

The Donaldsonville Levee Project, The Donaldsonville Downtown Development District, in conjunction with the City of Donaldsonville, entered into a contractual agreement with SJB Group of Baton Rouge this past year for the long-awaited Donaldsonville Riverwalk.  The DDD recently selected the amenities (lights, benches, trash receptacles) that will be placed along the levee, and is meeting with the engineering firm regularly to finalize the design portion of the project.  The project remains on schedule, and is set to be complete by August 2009.

The Brick Sidewalk Project, Phase one of the City of Donaldsonville sidewalk project has been approved by DOTD, and expects to be sent out to bid in early 2009.  Phase one of the project will include the bricking of sidewalks along Mississippi Street from Crescent Park to Railroad Avenue, and down Railroad Avenue to the intersection with Iberville Street.  Surveying of the sidewalks has already begun for Phase II of the project, and is expected to begin as soon as Phase I is completed.

The Donaldsonville Batture Dock, The DDD has been working on several proposals that would allow for a cost-effective temporary dock to be constructed along the Donaldsonville batture area.  Although it will not be the permanent dock illustrated in the long-term riverfront development section of the city Master Plan, this dock would allow for the arrival and unloading of paddleboats in route from New Orleans and Baton Rouge.  Once the dock is completed, we will work to include a stop in Donaldsonville along the current planned leisure routes along the river.

Visual Aesthetics Downtown

Trash Abatement: The DDD has hosted Stash the Trash events throughout the year, as well as worked with City personnel and within the board itself to clean up debris within the downtown commercial district.  In addition, the DDD purchased several commercial, heavy-duty trashcans and placed throughout Railroad Avenue as well as in both Crescent Park and Louisiana Square.  These trashcans are available for business owners to purchase as well, if they would like one placed directly in front of their buildings to alleviate the trash problem throughout the Downtown area.

Main Street Donaldsonville Program

The City of Donaldsonville was successful in being accepted into the Main Street Program this year, under the management and coordination of the Donaldsonville Downtown Development District.  The Main Street Program is considered to be the most successful downtown revitalization program in the history of the United States, with over four billion invested back into small downtown communities since its inception in the early 1980s.  The Main Street Donaldsonville program has achieved considerable success within its first year back on the program, and several of their ongoing and upcoming projects have been used as examples for other Main Street communities within the state.

Social Scene

The DDD has worked hard to strengthen the relationship with the film industry in the state. Their has been several movies filmed in the city in the past year, and will be a few more in 2009.

Furthering Education

Last but not least, the DDD has been working very closely with Mayor Sullivan and State Representative Elton Aubert throughout the past year to bring a Vo-Tech college to the west bank of Ascension Parish.  This project is currently underway, with an established task force working on a variety of different aspects of the project, and a building already secured to the project. The School will focus on window restoration, historic painting, carpentry, plumbing, masonry, and much more. This program will drastically improve the education opportunities for the students of the City of Donaldsonville, as well as train the workforce of the future for surrounding industry and trades.

“I want to thank everyone for their support of our events, and none of this would be possible without the dedicated residents of Donaldsonville,” says Rodgers.

The DDD hosted “An Avenue Evening Stroll” in November that brought hundreds of visitors and residents to enjoy a night on the town.