In a few days, 2013 will turn into 2014. And the next year is a big year across the country, but will also have a lot in store for local residents.
Everything from road improvements to new retail centers to wastewater development, there will be many moving parts across the parish.
So let’s pull back the curtain a little bit and see what’s ahead for next year:
The Bossier Parish Police Jury’s main focus next year is the parish-wide sewer district.
The bid for the sewer plant off Highway 3 on the Red River was recently awarded and construction was ready to begin Dec. 9. The project is expected to take 16 months. Cost will be $12.9 million.
“Next year, altogether between sewer and road projects — bridge replacement, drainage — we will put out $50-55 million,” said Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus.
They will also look at improving their parks and recreation, including the South Bossier Park — putting in a playground, walking trail, and fencing — and the Princeton Sports Complex — fields will be fully open in spring.
But they’re not stopping there. The jury recently reviewed its construction projects for next year:
- Swan Lake Road extension will start right of way acquisitions next year. Construction on Phase I, from I-220 to the future Winfield Road extension, will start in 2015.
“We’re looking at this because we know there’s some interest to bring a road from the Stirling shopping center off Airline to intersect with Swan Lake and avoid traffic on Airline Drive,” Altimus said.
- They will also begin planning for the Arthur Ray Teague extension to Hwy. 527. Residents can expect the start right of way platting, and maybe more.
“Depending on how budgets go, we may be purchasing right of way late next year. But we have to get it platted so we know how much we need,” said Altimus.
- Jury will receive funding assistance from Kingston Crossing Apartment owners and the Bossier Parish School Board to widen Kingston Road from Airline Drive to the future home of Kingston Elementary School. Construction is expected to begin in the 3rd quarter of 2014.
“We’re looking to the future. You can wait until it’s a cluster of traffic or you can do something now,” said Altimus.
- The jury is expecting a $1 million state grant for flood control at Eastwood/Merrywoods. Construction is slated to begin in the second quarter of 2014.
- The jury will also start right of way acquisitions on FEMA flood control projects to approve drainage at Kingston, Lafeet, and Cross Creek
When thinking on the past 12 months, Altimus is pleased with his and the Police Jury’s accomplishments.
“It was another good year. I’ve been on the Bossier Parish Police Jury for 16 years and there’s been a lot of foresight about what needs to be done. And the jury’s been knocking that out — the Wimple Road extension, Bellevue Road extension, the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway construction, and the new Bodcau Gate opened for Barksdale Air Force Base,” said Altimus.
Mayor Lo Walker said his goals for 2014 are simple: “Continue the same level of service for our citizens with reduced resources.”
He is looking forward to a new retail development on Airline Drive near Viking Drive.
“I can’t say much about it, but we’re hoping to see that economic development initiative,” said Walker.
He felt very strongly about helping Barksdale Air Force Base.
“I’m convinced there will be BRAC and Barksdale is in good condition, but it’s prudent to do everything we can to help Barksdale,” said Walker.
One of the ways he wants to do this is to help facilitate construction of a new gate off I-220 at Barksdale.
“We’ve been working on that for a few years, but I’m going to do everything in my power to help the base see that come true.”
Other projects in 2014 include the Shed Road extension, securing a record of decision on Segment of Independence 15 for I-69, continuing research into bringing an Amtrak route through Bossier-Shreveport, completing construction on the new wastewater treatment plant, and seeing work begin on the Walker Place development in south Bossier.
“We hope to see construction of a pedestrian and bike path over the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway to connect from the future park area to the current trail on the river,” said Walker.
Looking back at 2013, the mayor was very pleased with the way he and the council worked together.
“We’ve been realistic with our budget and we’re not depending on any significant transfers to balance our budget anymore and I think will serve the citizens of Bossier City well,” said Walker.