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Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

KENNER, La. - Kenner officials are gearing up for a ground-breaking ceremony on Tuesday morning that is expected to be the start of an economic resurgence in the Laketown area, near the shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain.

The ground-breaking is for the new Coconut Beach volley-ball complex, and predictions are that it will give Laketown an economic shot in the arm.

Coconut Beach will transform the open field behind the Pontchartrain Center into a complex with 22 sand volleyball courts.

It is said to be the largest man-made sand complex in the United States.

For a quarter of a century, Coconut Beach operated in the West End area of New Orleans, until the Corps of Engineers decided the land was needed for the hurricane protection work along the 17th Street Canal.

It closed in January, and when no site was worked out in New Orleans, Kenner leaders were able to bring Coconut Beach to Laketown.

It is expected to host tournaments and organized leagues that bring 4,000 players a week to the complex.

The owner and Kenner leaders see it as an economic development tool for Laketown, based on what happened in New Orleans.

'We had hundred of players that bought homes in Lakeview after Katrina, because it is close to the volleyball complex,' said Bruce White, the Coconut Beach founder.

Kenner's mayor hopes something similar will happen in the Laketown area, and he is invited restaurants and other developments to check things out.

The ground-breaking is at 10 a.m.

The race will be on to get it completed in time to host a charity tournament on June 2.

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