BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's been a game-changing year for downtown Baton Rouge. The Downtown Development District reports the area has seen nearly 18 new businesses open, with many projects in the works for 2013.
"This is the heart and the sole of the community, the downtown area is," said Davis Rhorer, director of the Downtown Development District. "It's a reflection of our community and the people. It's also the history of the city."
The city's heart has gotten bigger and better in 2012. Over the past year, 18 new businesses and 23 new construction projects have come to the area.
"And, we're still building and adding to it. And, it's been a big draw for a cross section of people, not only from Baton Rouge, but throughout the whole country as well," said Mayor-President Kip Holden.
Holden said while Galvez Square has brought hundreds of visitors and dozens of awards to the city this year, the US Bowling Congress and movie industry have meant much more for this area.
"They brought in roughly $100 million worth of income. I mean, that's absolutely great. The other game changer - movies being shot downtown. So, we have a lot of different things going, but people are rediscovering how great downtown is," Holden explained.
According to Rhorer, downtown is on its way to being even greater in 2013.
"We have so many big, exciting projects on the board for 2013. You're going to see the Crest open. You're going to see access to the levee at Florida Street, a whole new project underway there. You're going to see our greenway kickoff where we start embracing our inner city neighborhoods with downtown and the continuation of residential development," Rhorer added.
For those who already live in the area or plan to move here, Rhorer said a pharmacy and grocery store will soon join the other Third Street businesses.