Brown: State of Bossier Pt. 2

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In continuing with last week’s column on the State of Bossier Address hosted by the Bossier Chamber of Commerce on Thursday April 30, comments from the platform were also made by Jack Skaggs (Bossier Parish Police Jury President).

Mr. Skaggs noted that the population of Bossier Parish increased from 98,500 in 2000 to 126,000+ in 2014. He stated that our area has experienced economic growth in the cyber technology industry, the oil and gas industry and many other industries in recent years.

Mr. Skaggs also mentioned the highly publicized fact that the Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base will now be receiving a Four Star General. This is HUGE! We all need to realize what this means to both Barksdale Air Force Base and our community as a whole. Also of note from Mr. Skaggs presentation, he mentioned a new entrance into Barksdale Air Force Base off of I-220. ]

RandyHe also noted that Bossier Parish is the only parish in Louisiana where the school system is not the largest employer (Barksdale Air Force Base is the largest employer in Bossier Parish).

Further notes from Jack Skaggs’ presentation include: the Cyber Innovation Center and the construction of the new building for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). CSC will bring 800 direct jobs to Bossier City and another 800 indirect jobs (estimated).

In the conclusion of his presentation, Mr. Skaggs talked of planned subdivisions and the housing growth experienced in Bossier Parish over the last 14-15 years (with a focus on housing growth in the North Bossier City/Benton area). He also discussed infrastructure (bridges), the parish’s long term transportation plan and upcoming road projects.

The final presentation was made by Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker. Mayor Walker also discussed infrastructure and the planned/proposed route for I-69 through Bossier Parish and beyond.

Mayor Walker emphasized the importance of this new interstate in completing the transportation grid for our area and that along with the soon to come completion of I-49, our area is destined to become a major distribution and transportation hub.

Mayor Walker detailed Bossier City’s Capital Projects Plan for 2015-2019 which includes: the extension of the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway (North), George Dement Boulevard (Douglas and Plantation Extensions), Alpine/St.Lucy Extension (from the Bossier Press-Tribune building onViking Drive south to Hwy. 80), construction of five lanes for Viking Drive (between Airline and Swan Lake Rd.),  construction of four lanes for Shed Rd. (between Airline Dr. and Benton Rd.), adding lanes to Benton Rd. near I-220 and wastewater treatment plants (upgrades).

Mayor Walker also touted future economic development such as: Kroger Marketplace, re-development of old downtown Bossier City, Swan Lake Road lighting, and the extension of Miciotto Drive to Swan Lake Road.

Mayor Walker also noted: building permits (over the last 16 months: 57 commercial and 108 residential), the Cyber Innovation Center National Cyber Research Park, LA Technology Research Institute, a 3,000 acre overlay district (with 2,400 acres dedicated to Cyber development) and the NICERC Robotics Competition spearheaded by G.B Cazes – as an academic division of the Cyber Innovation Center (with 45 schools now involved).

Mayor Walker further noted that the population of Bossier City is now 66,333 (up 8.2% since 2010), Barksdale Air Force Base population = 18,0000 (7,800 active and reserves..plus their families….plus 40,000 retirees within 75 miles).

Mayor Walker stated Bossier City’s immediate challenges as:

needed improvements to alleviate vehicle congestion, public safety and the continued support of Barksdale Air Force Base. Mayor Walker concluded his remarks by saying that the state of Bossier City is very good. He remarked that Bossier City has a real competitive advantage in the fact that all public bodies work together great! And he went on to say that the working relationship of all of the governmental bodies, etc. in Bossier Parish is practically unheard of most anywhere else.           

As I stated last week, I applaud the Bossier Chamber of Commerce and their sponsors for making this event happen! I think this is all great stuff and we should be really excited to be here in this place at this time! It is a great time for Bossier and the best is yet to come! Again, I am very excited about the future of both Bossier City and Bossier Parish! We all have so much to look forward to!

Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at rbrown@bossierpress.com