Downtown Ruston is about to receive some upgrades.
After the city council met for its monthly meeting, it allowed a section of property owned by Michael Echols of Monroe to be named an Economic Development District. This area, which goes from Ruston Farmers Market to Hazel Street, will be developed for condos, restaurants and several businesses.
The area will be named the Power and Water District, as it is located where the former power and water buildings were housed. As the city council allowed it to be designated an Economic Development District, that will allow the owner, Echols, to ask for an EDD tax. In the Power and Water District’s case, the tax will be 1 ¾ percent. Echols as the developer, not the city, will receive the tax in order to assist in the development of the area.
Rosy Bromell, Ruston Farmers Market board president, said all the new developments around the town would only enhance RFM.
“New developments to the east of downtown help to drive traffic to our building,” Bromell said. “Not only the buildings in the P&W District, but also the new Skate Park. Our location is wonderful, but off the beaten path and not always known to the public. These new developments and other expansions to the east will be a great way to connect different areas of Ruston together and highlight the location of the RFM.”
Bromell said the city plans to build a staircase from the back side of the Historic Fire Station parking lot to the RFM building to allow parking for the market once part of RFM’s parking is taken for the new development. Bromell said she thinks the staircase will guide more people to the market.
“The RFM has benefited greatly from partnerships in our community,” Bromell said. “We rely on generous sponsors like Origin Bank and from those that provide in-kind services. We also have been able to connect growers with local restaurants like Grown and Grazed. We enjoy having community events in the market building. An example is Artoberfest. There are so many opportunities for the RFM to partner with others that we anticipate any new economic development will be beneficial. Mike Echols has shared his dream with the RFM Board and we are excited about what this will bring to Ruston and to Ruston Farmers Market.”
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