Editor:

I want to thank the Monroe City Council and the business owners and organizations that showed up to lend their support to my administration’s proposal for the Ouachita Candy Company and downtown Monroe. This is an exciting project that has the potential to be a major source of revenue for the City of Monroe without the sizeable overhead.

There has been a lot of talk about what the City plans to do with the real estate, but here’s what it’s not going to be: an event complex.

Here are some fast facts:

• City will purchase property

• Purchase price: $1.4 million paid for with excess sales tax revenue

• General fund will not be touched

• Property will be developed into mixed-use facility, this includes housing, retail, offices, institutions, restaurants, etc.

• Independent developer will fund future development of property

We’ve employed Manning Architecture out of New Orleans to show us a clear vision what that downtown area could become. Mr. Ray Manning’s renderings are a stunning example of preserving the historic beauty of that property.

When we met with Council members to talk about what our plans were for the building, they all rightly asked, “what is the benefit to our constituents?” That is an excellent question, and we have an equally excellent answer. We have committed to reinvesting a percentage of the tax dollars generated from the future development back into our communities.

Downtown Monroe is coming back to life and that’s thanks our citizens. I sincerely believe investing in this property will begin a catalytic effect that will reach every district in our city.

Thank you for choosing to live in our great city.

Mayor Friday Ellis

City of Monroe

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