As the year comes to an end, many are looking south in anticipation of a special legislative session in February to address the state’s myriad financial issues and funding deficiencies.
Gov. John Bel Edwards and lawmakers first will have to determine the best fiscal paths to funding the state through the summer to the end of the current fiscal year. Then there’s the regular session in which lawmakers will attempt to put the state on stable fiscal ground – a truly tough prospect after the last eight years of patchwork and fairy dust state fiscal policy.
Closer to home in Bossier Parish, however, folks may be so accustomed to progress and the funding to make it happen that the results aren’t always noted. But here at the holiday time, it is timely to look around and see just what we enjoy in our corner of northwest Louisiana.
The Bossier Parish Police Jury’s work to provide safe and effective sewerage disposal on a parish-wide basis continues — interrupted only by heavy rains that occasionally make it difficult to put those huge stacks of green sewer line in the ground. But the piles of sewer line along Benton Road and other areas of the parish are quickly disappearing, signaling that many parish residents will soon have state-of-the-art waste water disposal service. The Jury is also working to upgrade its recreation facilities. And according to Jury Public Info Officer Pat Culverhouse, new subdivision regulations will ensure that residents of those developments will enjoy both street lights and sidewalks as developer requirements in the future.
In Bossier City, the old downtown renewal project should start manifesting shortly after the new year with the first focus a renovation of Barksdale Boulevard between Traffic Street and Hamilton Road. The result will be all underground utilities (no more overhead lines!) and a new roadway complete with bike lanes. That’s only the start of renewing this long-neglected part of Bossier – it will be well-worth the effort to visit the area occasionally over the next year to enjoy the progress.
The Bossier City Council is also looking to develop plans to five-lane Viking Drive between Airline Drive and Swan Lake Road to create another alternative to Airline Drive, as well as continue the planning for the north extension of the ART Parkway to Benton Road.
The Bossier Parish School Board’s work to build new schools or enlarge existing campuses continues with the expansion of Airline High School’s campus, and plans are to build a new Benton Elementary School as well. For those unfamiliar with the Benton area, new development construction is a regular sight as more folks find this area of the parish a desirable place to live. And evidence of the residential growth in the northern part of the parish is found along Benton Road every morning and evening as the traffic stacks for miles.
Another kind of growth is evident along Highway 80 in east Bossier where ground has been cleared for the new Bossier Parish Community College Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) building. And just adjacent to this site, the area fronting Highway 80 has been cleared for construction of a new parking to lot help accommodate the school’s ever-growing enrollment.
Even the Cypress Black Bayou (CBB) Park area has seen improvements and has several major undertakings on tap. The electrical system is due an upgrade as are lake water control structures, and the Park’s RV area. CBB Commissioners are also looking at building new pavilions to accommodate a steadily increasing stream of visitors to the park for everything from family outings, to camping and RV stays, to large reunions and major sporting events.
While the State of Louisiana surely faces major challenges, this little area of the state seems to be doing amazingly well. Take some time over the holidays for a drive to discover just how fortunate we are to live in Bossier Parish.
Marty Carlson is a columnist for the BPT. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org