Kenner's mayor-elect outlines his priorities

Kenner's mayor-elect talks his priorities once he takes office

KENNER, LA (WVUE) - Like many cities, Kenner offers a mixed picture of residential areas and commerce. There are well-manicured, high-end neighborhoods, along with lower income areas.

Kenner's incoming mayor said he wants to make sure the entire city becomes the best it can be.

"Laketown expansion, improving Rivertown - those are the things, the lake to the river," said Mayor-Elect Ben Zahn.

Zahn was elected mayor Saturday to complete the term of former Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni, who was elected as Jefferson Parish President.

Economic development is high on list. In some areas of Kenner, it's already evident. A new commercial development that includes a gym and restaurants is underway in Laketown near Lake Pontchartrain.

But the Esplanade Mall has not yet made a comeback. Recently, new owners took over the mall on West Esplanade.

Kenner also has a lot of older housing, and in some areas code infractions persist.

"I think you need a mayor that's going to work with the code director, and the code director is going to work with the mayor, also our city council and our chief of police and address the issues that are out there," said Yenni.

And he wants to help the city attract more young families in the process.

"We need more walkability, that's what people are looking for, they're looking for city centers. Esplanade Mall would be a good starting point if that's what those people want to do. But for us, where we do have some control over it and some oversight over it would be Laketown to work with that developer to say, 'Look, it's got to be a city center' - you know an amphitheater, maybe some high-end condos, restaurants, musical entertainment venues that you can go to, shopping, that's what the young families are looking for," said Zahn.

The new north terminal at Louis Armstrong International Airport in Kenner is also expected to boost economic development.

"We do expect to see a transition in land development, especially along the Veterans Boulevard corridor just north of where that terminal is being constructed," said Jay Hebert, director of the Department of Planning and Zoning in Kenner.

Hebert said they have seen an uptick in interest from developers interested in buildings hotels, offsite parking lots and restaurants in that area.

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