Downtown adding fun for students

December 16, 2016


We all want where we live, our home, to be a beautiful place not just to ourselves, but to all of those who happen to come to our neck of the woods. The city of Ruston has been long overdue for an overhaul, and over the two years since Mayor Ronny Walker took office, that has started to happen.


And many Louisiana Tech students consider that a good thing.


Walker’s Moving Ruston Forward initiative was started to bring added allure to the downtown area, with Tech students admittedly a target.


Part of that initiative started this fall with the introduction of Loyal Blue Weekends, designed to promote the Ruston-Tech relationship through a series of downtown events leading up to tailgating at Joe Aillet Stadium prior to each of the four home games played by the Bulldogs this season.


Each weekend began with a Rock the Railroad event on Friday night at Railroad Park with children’s activities, a pep rally and live music on the Railroad Park Stage.


Home game Saturdays offered downtown shopping and a new feature what is called the Tech Trolley. For two hours prior to game time, the trolley (actually a bus) runs from Railroad Park to Tech’s Davison Athletic Complex, transporting fans to tailgate and game day activities on campus. The trolley also ran from the DAC back to Railroad Park for one hour after each game.


Even better, Railroad Park helped set the stage for even more concerts and events in the future with the addition of a permanent cover to the performance area.


Ground was also recently broken on Phase 1 of the Rock Island Greenway biking and walking path. The approximate 1-mile Phase 1 segment runs between West Kentucky Avenue and the Interstate 20 service road is a key portion of Walker’s proposal for a network of biking, walking and jogging trails throughout Ruston, something considered appealing by many Tech students.


Also appealing for us is the upgraded downtown Christmas decorations featured hundreds of white lights twinkling throughout the downtown area as well as the 33-foot tall Christmas tree made up entirely of lights standing in Railroad Park.


The city of Ruston has also purchased an artificial ice skating rink that also features a 16-foot-by-14-foot “Ball of Joy” ornament lighted ornament through which patrons walk through to enter the rink.


Many Tech students were also pleased to learn of the plans to try and renovate Ruston’s old Heard Building near Railroad Park to an indoor food court, complete with seating and as many as eight restaurant choices.


And again, all that effort is bringing the “Town and Gown” relationship between Tech and the city of Ruston is a good thing. The Tech Talk believes the downtown area plays a significant role to Tech students and appreciates the city’s efforts to show it cares about Tech students and are trying to find ways for us to enjoy downtown Ruston.


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