Last month the Bossier Chamber of Commerce held its annual gala and recognized several notable contributors to Bossier City’s and Parish’s consistent economic development gains. One of those notables is Bossier City Attorney Jimmy Hall.
From this viewpoint, Hall was eminently deserving of this honor.
In news reports, he was described as having been a longtime “player in facilitating economic development on behalf of the city and was instrumental in assisting Mayor Lo Walker with bringing multiple businesses to Bossier City during 2014, including the Kroger Marketplace.”
Hall’s contributions to Bossier City’s economic development efforts are about to grow by at least another facilitation; he was one of the first to grasp the synergy that could evolve between those employed in the area’s burgeoning tech sector and the potential for redevelopment of Bossier City’s old downtown.
The redevelopment of old Bossier dates back farther than my limited archives, which start with the 1987 City of Bossier City’s Annual Report – and a good bit of historic input from longtime District 4 Council member David Jones.
In 1987 the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) saw the future of reinvigorating this area through collaboration with Louisiana Tech University advisors for a “passive pedestrian park and a project referred to as ‘the greening of Bossier.”
By 1988, the DDA saw the prospect of the establishment of an electrical power research facility in the same downtown redevelopment area, as well as “a master plan … for passive pedestrian parks, open spaces and walking trails.” Development of Cane’s Landing was also a focus. And in 1989, a recreational development of Cane’s Landing continued to be on the DDA’s radar.
Fast-forward to 1993, and the focus of the DDA is a little murkier: “Its main purpose is to encourage greater Economic Development for new businesses and establish a better place to live.” By 1998, the plan was to locate Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) in the old downtown area – but, as Jones noted, the casino industry and a college campus weren’t necessarily the best mix. And the DDA was no longer a player.
Four years makes a big difference. By 2002, the development of Louisiana Boardwalk was well underway and somewhere in there, the local casino industry had offered up a plan for old Bossier redevelopment, but like so many of the dated plans, it went nowhere.
Jones recalled that there was Louisiana Boardwalk, but BPCC went to Texas Street and “all of the sudden, the pearl – old Bossier – was dead and in the middle of all of this – infrastructure was everywhere but there (old Bossier).”
The Arthur Ray Teague Parkway came along; CenturyTel (CenturyLink) became a reality (and commences Miranda Lambert’s world tour this year), but old Bossier remained a relic.
And then came the tech sector – all those relocating to Bossier to work for Computer Science Corporation (CSC). They are, by and large, millennials who have unique lifestyle measures that can be fulfilled with a re-invigorated old Bossier.
Jimmy Hall can give any inquirer a crash course in what this exceptional new addition to our community is looking for in lifestyle amenities. An he should be credited for a good bit of research that led to the Bossier City Council and Mayor’s enthusiastic commitment to the redevelopment of old Bossier City.
I’ve left out interim and ill-considered old Bossier redevelopment details, but they pale in comparison to what’s about to occur between Barksdale Boulevard, Traffic Street, Coleman Street and Hamilton Road.
Timing is a major factor in the success of any undertaking and Hall’s research and commitment to building Bossier can be credited, in large part, to the transformation that’s about to occur in old Bossier City. That work, along with 30 years of commitment to the betterment of Bossier City most certainly deserved the Chamber’s award.
Congratulations, and most sincerely we thank you, Jimmy Hall.
Marty Carlson is a columnist for the BPT. She may be reached at email@example.com