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Phase 3

Phase 3

Alright, Funroe! We have officially made it to the end of the Downtown Strategic Plan, with the conclusion of Phase 3. This phase honed in on the surveying and assessment from Phase 1 and paired it with the deep community engagement in Phase 2, to give an overview of Priority Projects for the City and other partners to focus on. The booklet contains an intensive look at what projects the community requested and integrates those pieces of feedback with a more structural take on how to get these things done. We aren’t waiting to get started – we are already accomplishing projects from the full plan, such as creating Ambler Alley between 3rd Street and Art Alley, along with walking tours that showcase the historical, artistic, and culinary highlights of downtown.

Priority Projects


The Riverwalk has several stages, spanning from 1-10 years. Be sure to check out the detailed plans and images in the booklet. One particular improvement is a result of the proposed development of the Ouachita Candy Company site. This includes an opportunity for opening up a wide stretch of space adjacent to the levee wall. A public plaza is proposed to anchor the south end of the Riverwalk, providing an opportunity for outdoor recreational activities and gatherings with direct views of the river. In order to create a continuous pedestrian connection from the Riverwalk and Levee path to the downtown Urban Path, the space between two of the existing Candy Company buildings is proposed to be activated as a public alley. The creation of small vendor spaces creates a more inclusive environment for smaller businesses and startups while generating a vibrant active alley. (Image taken from page 16.5, bottom right corner)

Street Improvements

The City of Monroe is currently working to improve the streets and sidewalks throughout the City. There are three phases focusing on the downtown area to align with strategic plan projects and intended circulation flow. Enriching the streets and sidewalks will encourage more pedestrian and cyclist usage while making vehicular circulation safer and more enjoyable. The street and sidewalk improvements are phased to support the strategic plan development timing. Phase 1 improvements are already in progress and are depicted here. (include map from page 17.3)

  • Jackson Street
    The Jackson Street improvements were planned by the City of Monroe and construction documents were created by S. E. Huey Co. This street improvement covers 1.274 miles of Jackson Street, extending past the I-20 highway into South Monroe. The plan consists of improved sidewalks and creating new curb ramps.
  • DeSiard Street
    The DeSiard Street improvements are being planned by Monroe’s Downtown Economic Development District (DEDD) and CSRS. The street improvements covers DeSiard Street from the Endom Bridge to the railroad crossing. The preliminary plans consists of sidewalk improvements, bike lane creation, stormwater management, and various designs to improve the pedestrian experience.
  • Walnut Street
    The Walnut Street improvements are being planned by Monroe’s Downtown Economic Development District (DEDD) and Volkert Engineers. The street improvement covers Walnut Street from Pine Street to DeSiard Street. The preliminary plans consist of burying powerlines, sidewalk improvements, bike lane creation, stormwater management, and additional enhancements to the pedestrian experience.

Dog Park

Overwhelming feedback from the community in Phase 2 showed a need for a dog park. After reviewing many sites in Downtown Monroe, the conversion of a City owned property was selected. The site has existing fencing, natural shading elements, existing seating and is located adjacent to the potential future skate park. Located at the entrance to downtown and Washington Street, this site could bring people from ULM and surrounding neighborhoods into downtown. 

Monroe Marina

The City of Monroe and DEDD are working with MSA Professional Services, Inc. to develop plans for a marina adjacent to the existing RiverMarket. This project will connect Monroe citizens to the Ouachita River by providing a floating boat dock and convenience store. In turn, the marina will increase pedestrian circulation in the area, bringing business and activity to Downtown Monroe. *Disclaimer: The renderings below are works in progress provided by MSA. Final design may change as the project develops. 

Art & Ambler Alleys

Alleys provide an opportunity to create public spaces within a city. Potential alley activation will create a more walkable city by introducing safe shortcuts and establishing more interesting routes. Art Alley, bookended by the railroad track and DeSiard St., currently houses various local businesses and art galleries. Painting the street will invite more pedestrian friendly circulation while activating the adjacent alleys between 3rd and Walnut Streets. To promote a new pedestrian network, Art Alley would transition to become pedestrian-only. The added bollards will create a barrier between vehicular and pedestrian access. Painting the street of Art Alley would not only enhance the visual appeal of the area but would also encourage a shift towards sustainable modes of transportation. The use of colorful patterns and designs creates an inviting atmosphere that attracts pedestrians; promotes social interactions and fosters a sense of community. Moreover, the act of painting the street itself can involve local residents and artists, promoting civic engagement and local pride. “Ambler Alley” was selected as the name of the future pedestrian network through collaboration between the City of Monroe and the community. Further interaction in developing Ambler Alley’s identity through creating and designing signage would add shared communal interest in the transformation of the space. 

How is Success Defined?

A strategic plan is a living document that should be referenced and updated constantly. The vision statement developed in Phase 2 should serve as a constant guide for implementing and revisiting the Strategic Plan. Monitoring progress toward the Inclusive, Active, and Cultural goals that were established by unified community feedback, the City and its partners will discuss the plan regularly, celebrate accomplishments along the way, and allocate resources to get the projects completed.

Event Recaps

Phase 3
Rollin’ on the Riverfront