After seven years and thousands of dollars on a road project, one coast city believes it has found a better way to spend taxpayer money.
Back in 1997 D'Iberville began working to expand Gorenflo Road and turn it into a thriving commercial area. As we enter 2005, city officials say about $100,000 has been spent, but of the 46 rights of way needed, only 17 have been purchased.
Now D'Iberville is switching its focus to improving Central Avenue. These changes are expected to help the business community.
Right now business is good at Howard Stabler's custom framing shop in D'iberville.
"We've got some faithful customers," said Stabler. "It's a very good location for us."
Stabler believes a three-lane Central Avenue could make business even better.
"Oh, I think it's great. I think it's going to bring a lot more traffic down to the area and we're going have a positive influx of customers. I think that people that avoid this area now because it's hard to get through are going to eventually come back to the area."
D'Iberville's improvement plans include gutters, curbs, and better intersections. City leaders want to create an easily traveled loop connecting Central Avenue and Automall Parkway.
City Manager Richard Rose said, "I think it's going to create a much better aesthetics and number two I think it's going to improve potential development for downtown and fill some of those empty buildings that we've had for some time."
While other, newer parts of the city seem to be getting a lot of attention lately, Rose says downtown hasn't been forgotten.
"This has been the heart and soul of the city of D'Iberville for many many years," said Rose. "We do not want to lose this because it's what got the city to where it is today."
The estimated cost of improving Central Avenue is 1 million dollars with $800,000 coming from the federal government. City manager Richard Rose says if D'Iberville were to get a casino the city would look at expanding the road further.