Last Tuesday’s Bossier Chamber of Commerce annual State of Bossier event was once again confirmation that Bossier City and Parish are heading in the right direction on a variety of economic fronts.
Leading off the session, Dr. Dave Norris, Louisiana Tech University’s Chief Innovation Officer, observed that a successful community is one that innovates and becomes entrepreneurial. And he tick off a list of community elements that “matter most for economic prosperity in the 21st century,” including:
- Pre-k through 12 education;
- Research and higher education;
- Public support of innovation and entrepreneurship;
- High quality basic local public services and healthcare;
- Successful public-private partnerships; and
- Leading edge public infrastructure.
After a statistical review of areas that ranged from crime rates, to kindergarten readiness, to graduation rates, to average ACT scores, and more – Norris noted that Bossier Parish performs better than the state statistically, and, “Bossier Parish is strong and trending in the right direction.”
Bossier Parish Police Jury President Jack Scaggs and Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker followed Norris to the podium and provided a robust list of ways Bossier is “strong and trending in the right direction.”
According to Skaggs Bossier Parish’s population has grown from 98,536 in 2000, to 126,345 in 2014. Both Skaggs and Walker believe that even greater growth will result as Global Strike Command, headquartered at Barksdale AFB, welcomes a new four-star general; Cyber Innovation Center welcomes Computer Science Corporation’s employees; and new businesses continue to find Bossier a good place to locate.
From the Parish’s work to faithfully execute the Bossier Parish Transportation Plan 2004-2015, to create a sewer district, to building parks and recreation facilities, to maintaining a health unit, library system – the Parish has contributed heavily to Bossier’s growth.
And the same is true for Bossier City. Transportation projects continue uninterrupted, a new water and sewer treatment plant, economic development projects, public-private partnerships – and that’s the short list of city advancements to grow Bossier on every positive front.
While the Bossier Parish School Board wasn’t represented on Tuesday’s panel, this parish entity is also working diligently to improve both education and school facilities, with several new projects underway or planned.
It’s really not necessary to list all the work that’s underway to improve our community. All one needs to do is drive to, say, the intersection of Airline Drive and Viking Drive, and look around. The new Kroger Marketplace is going up – along George Dement Boulevard recently completed by the city – to connect with the Airline Drive relief road, which is under construction. On the other side of Airline Drive, work is underway to enlarge and modernize Airline High School.
Out in the Parish, take a drive down Kingston Road – and see what happens when the parish, school board, and private developer contribute to make a road project happen.
And those examples are being replicated all over Bossier Parish.
Bossier is growing, successfully and in the right direction. While it’s reassuring to have Dr. Norris’s confirmation of that fact – it’s something that most in Bossier City/Parish already knew.
Marty Carlson is a columnist for the BPT. She may be reached at email@example.com