Third economic development district created for city of Ruston

By T. Scott Boatright

A third economic development district has been created for the city of Ruston.

Ruston’s Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance during their monthly meeting Monday night at City Hall that will create the Power and Water Economic District.

Next month the Board will likely levy a 1.75% tax within that district’s boundaries.

The new economic development district will 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 will 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.

Ruston’s Board of Alderman also moved Monday night to sell 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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