Tech, City of Ruston to break ground on infrastructure development project

Sep 9, 2010 | General News, Research and Development

Louisiana Tech University and the City of Ruston are preparing to break ground on the first phase of an infrastructure development and streetscape project along Homer Street between the campus and downtown Ruston.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held September 16 at 9:30 a.m. at the southeast corner of Homer Street and Arizona Avenue, adjacent to Tech Pointe – the first multi-tenant facility being constructed at Enterprise Campus, Louisiana Tech’s research park.
“This project is yet another example of our commitment to advancing the economic development mission of Louisiana Tech University and the many cooperative efforts we have with the City of Ruston,” says Louisiana Tech President Dan Reneau.
“We are proud of the relationship we have with [Ruston] Mayor Dan Hollingsworth and the vision we both share for the future of our community.”
The project is funded through a $2 million grant, awarded jointly to Louisiana Tech and the City of Ruston, by the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Economic Adjustment Assistance Program.
The grant provides for major upgrades and improvements to the underground utility infrastructure and aesthetic enhancements to the above ground spaces in the area between Louisiana Tech and its Enterprise Campus.
“We’re excited about this project and the positive impact it will have on the Enterprise Campus at Louisiana Tech as well as its congruence with our Ruston 21 downtown revitalization program,” said Ruston Mayor Dan Hollingsworth.  “The public is well served when a Community and a University collaborate and work as one for their shared interests and common goals.”
The first phase of the project will include upgrades along Homer Street and areas along Louisiana Avenue and Texas Avenue, between Homer Street and College Street.
Louisiana Tech and the City of Ruston expect that these infrastructure enhancements will help to attract high-tech companies to the community and spur economic development opportunities throughout the region.
“Creating the right kind of environment is essential for recruiting and retaining these types of companies,” said Dr. Les Guice, vice president for research and development at Louisiana Tech.  “We are already seeing a very positive response to the infrastructure that we are putting in place in the Enterprise Campus.”
In addition to the aesthetic and utility improvements, the Homer Street project will also improve vehicle and pedestrian access to Enterprise Campus and Louisiana Tech’s brand new College of Business building.  Construction on the College of Business building is expected to begin by the end of the year.
Future phases are expected to include areas east of Homer Street, in an effort to link Louisiana Tech and its Enterprise Campus with retailers and restaurants located in downtown Ruston.
As part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the EDA focuses locally-developed, regionally-based economic development initiatives that achieve the highest return on the taxpayers’ investment and that directly contribute to economic growth.
The Economic Adjustment Assistance Program (EAAP) is designed to respond to economic recovery issues and to help address challenges faced by various regions and communities around the country.
Dr. Dave Norris, director of Louisiana Tech’s Enterprise Center, is credited with initiating and coordinating the grant application process and recognizes the potential of collaborative economic development programs with local and regional municipalities.
“This project will literally lay the foundation for the first few years of growth in our Enterprise Campus,” said Norris.  “It is an excellent example of a productive partnership between Louisiana Tech, the City of Ruston, and the federal Economic Development Administration.”