Dowtown East name sparks area revitalization
BATON ROUGE - District-10 Metro Councilwoman Tara Wicker represents an area that residents have named "Downtown East."
Not down-town, not mid-city, but it's own community with it's own neighborhood association
"Someone said ‘This is east of downtown,’ and all of a sudden there the name was and that allowed it to be significant identity for this area" Wicker said.
Downtown East is bordered by Government Street to the south, Fuqua Street to the north, I-110 to the west, and 22nd Street to the east.
What was once a thriving community, has been neglected, with empty lots where businesses once stood. Wicker said that it offers an opportunity for redevelopment.
"We have a lot of opportunity. Opportunity in the terms of vacant land, abandoned houses, the revitalization of Memorial Stadium. So it lends to a model project in my opinion,” Wicker said.
Wicker says the re-development has already started. The crime rate has been going down, there’s a new park, new condominiums and an apartment complex that sat empty for years is being re-modeled.
Memorial Stadium sits on the edge of the so called Downtown East and Wicker says the association has big plans for the stadium and it's efforts to revitalize the area.
"Transform Memorial Stadium into a state of the art track facility. That would bring more people into this community and more development" Wicker said.
The councilwoman says the Downtown East Association is now looking for donations to help market the community as an area where residents and businesses can invest in.