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(Eric Cormier / American Press)<br>

(Eric Cormier / American Press)

Mardi Gras Boardwalk gets green light from City Council

Last Modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 11:19 AM

By Eric Cormier / American Press

Mardi Gras Boardwalk has been given the green light to proceed.

On Wednesday, the Lake Charles City Council approved the sale of nine acres of land for more than $4 million and a cooperative endeavor agreement that outlines the rules and timetable that the development company has to abide by as it attempts to build a $45 million residential and entertainment facility along the lakeshore.

“We’re excited as can be,” said Mardi Gras Boardwalk spokesman Gary Dickson. “This has been a long time coming, but it is worth it.”

The complex should be completed within two years.

Near the end of the summer, the development company is supposed to present the City Council with the completed master plan for approval.

“It has to be completed in less time than how long we’ve talked about it,” Dickson said.

City Councilman Dana Jackson was happy with the final, unanimous vote. Jackson worked closely with Mayor Randy Roach’s administration and Mardi Gras Boardwalk officials to foster the development through the legislative process.

He has repeatedly said he wants to see a high-dollar development built in Lake Charles. “I applaud Mardi Gras Boardwalk for hanging around,” he said.

Approval did not come easy, as City Councilman Marshall Simien insisted that a sound study was needed so residents living near the proposed development site would not be adversely affected. Mardi Gras Boardwalk intends to build an outdoor amphitheater on the property to host concerts.

Simien’s concerns follow recent informal sound checks that garnered attention from residents in the northern section of the city. They complained about the high level of music that was used in the exercise.

The City Council approved a sound level of 85 decibels, which was supported by Mardi Gras Boardwalk.

Simien said the selection of that level was not based on science and that Mardi Gras Boardwalk could end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and have their master plan not approved.

“I don’t know how we can put that level into the agreement without a sound study. It would make sense for both sides to have a study because that would help with the design aspect. The 85-decibel level is pulling a number out of our hat,” he said. “I don’t think 85, 90 or 100 will be a litmus test.

“I am all for development. But there are people in the northern part of the city who spent money to build their homes. I hate to have something where the two can’t exist.”

Charles Landry, the attorney representing Mardi Gras Boardwalk, implied the deal could fall through if the 85-decibel limit was not accepted. The company initially wanted a level of 110, then 90 decibels.

“We need to have a number that is the standard and ask that you accept 85 and let us go forward with planning,” Landry told the City Council.

He and Simien both agreed that the company could lose its financial investment if the council did not approve the master plan based on the sound issue. The city has a right to refuse the master plan, based on the agreement.

Dickson said the company will work with engineers during the planning phase in an effort to keep sound from being a problem.

Mardi Gras Boardwalk officials have proposed buying the land from the city for $4.4 million then constructing a $46 million entertainment facility with a festival park and amphitheater; five-story, 100-room condo/hotel; 35,000-square-foot sports bar and grill; and a 25,000-square-foot family entertainment center.

The venue would also host six restaurants, three music venues, four limited-service businesses, three quick-service businesses and kiosks.

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