City, parish recognize successes and challenges with growing population
The overwhelming theme of last week’s State of Bossier Address luncheon was that Bossier is definitely a city and parish that is growing.
Dr. Wesley Hinze of Bossier Parish Community College was the keynote speaker, giving attendees a glimpse of Bossier trends, from population, family data and occupations. Most positively, Bossier is ahead of population growth projections already and that population growth is in younger people, he added, with more people migrating to Bossier.
The top industries are accommodations, retail and healthcare. And, the growth in jobs in Bossier is in middle class occupations.
Additionally, the education level of families is leaning toward more educated households.
“This is a positive outlook for future conditions,” Hinze added.
Lisa Johnson, CEO/President of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, was pleased to hear these trends, particularly that people are choosing to live and work in Bossier now more than ever.
“The statistics Dr. Hinze presented fall in line with the vision of Bossier and our tagline #BossierInnovates,” Johnson said. “We’re ahead of the game.”
Bossier Parish Police Jury President Wanda Bennett touted the parish leaders’ cooperation and dedication to working together diligently during the recent flooding, in 2015 of the Red River and local flooding in 2016. As the parish continues to see consistent growth, challenges are being addressed as well, she noted, particularly in infrastructure.
Right now, the parish is finishing up a $55 million wastewater plant as well as conducting a study on prioritizing bridges for repair and replacement. Both Bennett and Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker talked about road improvements, and expansions, to meet the growing needs of the city and parish.
Walker noted the city is in the last phase of its 30-year project to expand Shed Road to four lanes. Coming up, Viking Drive will become five lanes and the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway will continue north, eventually connecting to Benton Road. Walker also gave a favorable outlook that Bossier could be the next site for Amtrak, as the railway is looking to connect the current gap in rail service between Marshall, Texas and Meridian, Miss.
The sold-out event was held at the Hilton Garden Inn and sponsored by Gibsland Bank & Trust.