Ruston Board of Aldermen to meet tonight

By T. Scott Boatright

A third economic development district could be created for the city of Ruston tonight.

That’s one of the items on the agenda as Ruston’s Board of Aldermen hold their monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight at City Hall.

Aldermen are expected to vote on an ordinance that would create the Power and Water Economic District and if that ordinance is approved, they will at a later meeting levey a 1.75% tax within that district’s boundaries.

That economic development district would consist of the city’s old diesel power plant sire and adjoining acreage bought by Monroe developer Michael Echols in 2019.

The city sold the site located on East Mississippi Avenue to Echols in August of 2019 for $337,000.

Echols wants to turn the plant into a mixed-use residential and commercial site. He told aldermen in 2019 that he envisions a three-phase project that will ultimately include as many as 110 housing units, as well as retail and commercial space.

The name of the potential new district comes from the fact the site was once the city’s power plant and waterworks location.

Initial sales tax revenue would go to the developer to help offset construction costs.

The project is estimated at $30 million but Echols is only seeking $1 to $2 million in tax revenue to improve and repurpose the existing old buildings.

Also on tonight’s Board of Aldermen agenda is consideration of selling property within the Ruston Sports Complex, including the Ruston High School baseball field to the Lincoln Parish for a little more than $1 million.

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