Kenner seeks to revive historic Rivertown area

KENNER, La. (AP) - The city of Kenner is launching efforts to revive its historic Rivertown area.

A farmer's market and outdoor movie nights will start next month as part of the effort to lure more people to the area. And a new company is taking over the area's performing arts theaters.

Mayor Mike Yenni's vision for the historic area is for a vibrant area that doesn't require a government subsidy, according to The Times-Picayune.

Rivertown is where Kenner began as the city's earliest settlers built their homes and businesses on high, fertile ground by the Mississippi River.

After World War II, Kenner's population pushed north.

In the 1980s, then-Mayor Aaron Broussard tried to inject new life into the area with a line of small museums.

But the city's subsidy has reached more than half a million dollars a year, and in the economic downturn of the past decade, museums started closing and businesses foundering.

In 2010, the City Council formed an advisory committee of residents, businesses and public officials to develop ideas for Rivertown.

Rivertown business owners are involved in the advisory board.

"I think it's going in the right direction," said Kenner City Council member Gregory Carroll, whose district includes the area.

Many of the ideas now bearing fruit were recommended in a 56-page master plan written in 2008. It suggested consolidating the museums and selling city-owned Williams Boulevard real estate to commercial interests.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)