A former councilman expressed concerns to Bossier City officials Tuesday over a new multi-million dollar development coming to the East Bank District.
The Bossier City Council approved Tuesday the first reading of an ordinance that would sell of 13.7 acres of land owned by the city and the Bossier Parish Police Jury on the northwest corner of Coleman Street and Bearkat Drive to Daper Holdings, LLC for a new $35 million development.
During the council meeting, Chester Wojecki urged the council to reinvest the money from the sale of the land into central Bossier.
A former council member from 1977-89, Wojecki approached the council and asked if the issue would be discussed openly in the meeting.
“My connection with this area is very longstanding,” he said. “I am concerned about this deal. Not only does it provide an opportunity to reap a lot of money, but to (resolve) some things that have been overlooked.”
Wojecki’s main item of contention was the construction of a baseball field at Bossier High that had been proposed, then denied in the early 2000s.
“We’re the only high school that doesn’t have a baseball field,” he said. “I ask that you would look at putting a field there for Bossier High.”
He asked Mayor Lo Walker if he remembered the initial issue and then why it had been turned down in the first place.
“I vaguely remember that,” said Walker, before Councilman Don Williams added that he remembered the vote and said it was turned down because there wasn’t enough room.
“I was born and raised in that area and went to Bossier High School,” said Williams. “There problem is there’s no room (for that) anymore.”
Wojecki went on to ask the council to resolve the Mary Cane Creek bayou stream that he said is a “real mosquito problem.” And he urged the council to revisit the closing of the Fort Smith public pool in the area.
“That was used by a lot of older people,” said Wojecki. “Bossier High students were the only students with the benefit of a swimming pool…Let’s redo (the pool) and get a swimming program going.”
Williams asked to explain why it was closed for Wojecki to interject, “I don’t care. If it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Lastly, he urged the council to provide more security for the schools — Bossier High and Bossier Elementary — in the area.
“Schools need to be containerized. One policeman is not going to stop (intruders),” said Wojecki.
The official approval of the sale is dependent upon a second reading. That will be at the next regular council meeting on Sept. 19.
According to the ordinance, Dapper Holdings wants to use the land to build a medical facility, a boutique hotel, and office space.
The first phase of the proposed development is a $35 million medical facility, which would total 60,000 square feet and would begin within six months from the close of the property sale. It would start as a 10-bed short stay surgical hospital with an ambulatory surgery center.
William Barrow, representing Dapper Holdings, declined to disclose who the operator would be.
However, he told the council he sees the medical facility as an “evolving” development.
“It would be developed to allow other healthcare facilities,” said Barrow. “It would be allowed to develop services such as rehabilitation and acute care.”
Barrow said it would be finished in less than two years.
The ordinance says the facility will employ approximately 60 to 70 full time employees upon opening, and when the boutique hotel is constructed, employment will expand to 100 full time employees within three years. The construction of the project will create 75 to 100 construction jobs.
The property was appraised the middle of this year with a market value of $1.49 million.