Changes on the way for Keep Bossier Beautiful?

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Keep Bossier Beautiful volunteers plant a tree at the NWLA War Veterans Home in Bossier City in January 2016. (Amanda Simmons/Press-Tribune)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

Changes could be coming regarding the future of Keep Bossier Beautiful.

At the June 5 Bossier Parish Police Jury meeting, jurors heard a suggestion from Parish Administrator Bill Altimus to hire an executive director for the beautification effort. 

Jurors also enjoyed a short presentation from Brandy Evans, vice president of communications at the Shreveport Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau, on the status of Keep Bossier Beautiful.

Founded in 1990, Keep Bossier Beautiful is the local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. It focuses on preventing litter, reducing waste, and beautifying communities through outreach efforts, education and beautification projects.

After a series of emails and meetings between Altimus, Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington and Bossier City Mayor, Lorenz “Lo” Walker, on ways to help better utilize the Keep Bossier Beautiful, Altimus suggested an executive director be hired to oversee the program.

“Julian asked Mayor Walker and myself through a series of emails and meetings to look at revitalizing, restructuring the Keep Bossier Beautiful program,” Altimus said. “After seeing the comments made on the Destination Next survey that was conducted by the tourist bureau, the thing that really stuck on me is the concerns about the amount of trash that was mentioned. It was pretty much across the board and was the primary concern.”

The Shreveport/Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau administered the Destination Next survey to residents, tourism stakeholders, and local government bodies late last year. An estimated 401 people participated in the survey.

Evans then presented some brief findings from the survey on how residents and visitors view Bossier Parish.

“After conducting the Destination Next survey, one of the things that came up continuously from the report was litter,” Evans said. 

Participants who contributed to the survey made comments such as:

• Provide a cleaner, safer environment. 

• Clean up and fix roads, and maintain facilities better.

• Clean up trash, especially on I-20 between the Shreveport Airport and downtown. 

• Both Bossier and Shreveport need to invest in street sweeps.

“In August we will be hosting a U.S. Olympic qualifier volleyball event and the last thing we want is our visitors from all around the world to come in and leave with the impression that our city is dirty,” said Evans. “We most certainly support you guys hiring someone whose full-time job it is to keep our cities and parish clean. We would appreciate any help with cleaning the litter and help us present a clean city that is inviting to all.”

Further discussions are planned between the parish and Bossier City before a final decision can be made on hiring the position. No timeline was given for the ultimate decision.