West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell says private investors have committed more than $1.2 million toward establishing a public marina with eight boat slips on the Ouachita River.

Investors have donated $200,000 in cash and pledged more than $1 million to the project, Mitchell told the West Monroe Board of Aldermen during the board’s regular meeting on Tuesday.

“It’s all private dollars for that project,” Mitchell said. “It’s very exciting when you see the community come together and when you see the private investment.”

Last August, Mitchell unveiled plans for improvements in the city’s downtown that included a marina and fishing pier. A marina and fishing pier and other recreational attractions in the downtown area ranked highly in surveys and public forums seeking input from residents about how to improve the quality of life in the area.

“Our people said they wanted more access to our natural assets like the river,” Mitchell said.

A marina was donated to the city, and city officials are awaiting approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to relocate the marina to two city-owned lots, north of the railroad, along the river.

“Hopefully, we can use the marina by the summer,” Mitchell said.

The city is applying for a grant through the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for a fishing pier.

“We definitely want to get that ball rolling,” said Alderman Ben Westerburg.

According to Mitchell, city officials hope to establish the marina and later pursue the construction of an outdoor amphitheater as well as other possible attractions along the river.

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