Kenner leaders optimistic about revitalizing Laketown area

KENNER, LA (WVUE) - Recent discussions with a Las Vegas developer has Kenner leaders optimistic about a prime piece of property, Laketown.

Past efforts to develop the land have failed, but leaders say new negotiations could mean Kenner finally becomes a destination city.

Developing Laketown has been a longtime dream for Kenner leaders.

"No other place in Jefferson Parish has something like this," said Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn.

Yet, previous efforts to secure a willing developer failed.

Now, Mayor Zahn says the city maybe closer than ever to making it a reality.

"Something that will make the lakefront what it should be, making Kenner that destination city we've talked about for a long time," said Zahn.

He says leaders are three months into a six month agreement with Las Vegas-based Atlantis to build out the area.

"They're looking at restaurants, hotels, upscale condos, some type of boardwalk shopping," explained Zahn.

Already, the area boasts the Treasure Chest Casino, the Pontchartrain Center and Coconut Beach.

"But with the land based casino being passed throughout the state, that's going to change the footprint out there," said Zahn. "This is reaching out to another group that can actually come in and help develop and make Treasure Chest even more popular."

Mayor Zahn says the development would be instrumental in generating more growth along the Williams Boulevard corridor and creating much needed revenue for the city.

"The more we build, the more people are going to come, the better the environments going to be," said Kenner resident Ronald Thiel Jr.

Some say the move is a no-brainer, but other Kenner locals have reservations, especially since the land falls outside of levee protection.

"Over here, if you build on this side, with the hurricane, it will wipe it out every time," said Kenner resident Hugo Betancourt.

Previous concerns surrounding development included infrastructure issues like the need to expand sewer service. Plus, wetland mitigation on state-owned land.

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