Many people, some living and others dead have waited for a long time to see this day come to Longview-equipping South Longview to become a destination. On Tuesday, Longview Economic Development Corporation (LEDCO) and the City of Longview gathered at the biggest eyesore sight in Longview, the old Holiday Inn on I-20 and Estes Parkway and announce that construction work is about to begin on the site.
Some south-side residents have been disillusioned and doubted that it will ever happen because of prior dashed hopes. But this time is different. You can say, there is a right time for everything thing.
Lester Lucy, current president of LEDCO welcomed everyone with special recognitions going to LEDCO board, LEDCO’s past president Keith Honey, LEDCO’s executive director Susan Gill, Longview city manager David Willard and other staff members.
He told the audience that they are gathered to transform this site-the former Holiday Inn. According to Lucy, the ceremony marks one and half years of hard work by a lot of people. He reminded the audience of the site’s heydays.
“It was a very nice place but has deteriorated to what we see today,” he said. “We are going to transform this site to something that will make Longview proud.”
As you read this publication, preconstruction meeting with the contractors is going on for the project. The contractor will begin his work immediately. You can watch the progress of the construction and transformation at longviewusa.com.
“Longview is fortunate to have LEDCO,” Lucy said while putting in a word for citizens to shop Longview. “Remember that this Christmas season, when you shop Longview, your dollars stay in our community.”
Furthermore, Longview Mayor Jay Dean thanked the 1-20 Corridor Task Force for their recommendations. Letourneau University President Dale Lunsford chaired the Task Force. According to Dean, getting rid of the old Holiday Inn is first on the recommendation list.
“Longview enjoys the fact that it touches 1-20 and the objective is to try to bring more traffic and visitors into the community. But, what is one of the first things they see when they finally come into our community-Babe Ruth behind us,” he said. Dean said the City considers this project an investment of tax payer dollars.
“When this property is cleaned up and set to go, this will be a valuable piece of property that is going to enjoy operating serious redevelopments,” he said. “The citizens will see a return on their investment by what we are starting today.” Dean went on to say the City will still tackle other recommendations as it moves on to other projects.
Kasha Williams council woman for District 3 in whose district the revitalization is taking place thanked the community, the Mayor, city council and all her supporters.
“Today is a great day for the city of Longview and a great time,” she said. She re-echoed Dean’s sentiment of a beginning the first step to revitalization. The revitalization and re-development of South Longview was her platform three years ago when she ran for City Council. “In moving forward, we have the responsibility of conveying our plans to the citizens of what we are doing,” she said. According to Williams, Longview is at the cutting edge and she is happy that Longview is like other cities that are investing in their communities.
“The best is yet to come, Longview,” a hopeful Williams finished.
Story and photo by Joycelyne Fadojutimi