Most Bossier Parish residents probably didn’t need the recent news from the Louisiana Treasurer’s office to know parish population growth continues at a robust pace. On the other hand, it must be rewarding confirmation for the folks whose diligence and planning have paid off in creating a better environment for those of us who live here – and for those who are moving to Bossier Parish.
For the uninformed, the Treasurer’s office estimates Bossier Parish’s population at 125,000 as of July 1, 2013. And that makes it, said Bossier Parish Police Jury Administrator Bill Altimus, “… the fastest growing parish north of I-10.”
Altimus and the Police Jury, along with their governmental contemporaries in Bossier City, and on the Bossier Parish School Board – as well as local representatives of higher education, economic development and business and industry are largely responsible for this growth.
But “growth” in and of itself is not the most significant reward. Instead it’s the type of growth that is so meaningful when it comes to building a higher standard of living for our residents – old and new – and the youth of Bossier Parish who are more often enjoying the same employment and quality-of-life opportunities right here at home that their predecessors had to leave to find.
“If you have the willingness to make things happen, they will happen. We know what we have to do and what we want to do, now we just have to see it through,” said Altimus about the parish’s current growth – and potential for much more.
Major improvements in Bossier City and in the parish in transportation, water and sewer utility infrastructure, environmental improvements, sports and recreation, along with more diverse entertainment offerings (many just across the river) are making the area a more desirable place to live.
Important as well to this growth are the on-going efforts of education and economic development leaders to provide not just employment opportunities – but challenging and rewarding career opportunities for parish residents.
Just last month, Bossier Parish Community College, for the third consecutive year, was again acknowledged as one of the top five fastest growing community colleges in the country by Community College Week.
BPCC Chancellor attributed the growth to the school’s “…responsiveness to market demands,” and further explained that the school’s programs are designed to meet the employment opportunities of the regional economy. Importantly, the growing number of employment opportunities that require post-secondary education, training, or certifications are higher paying career opportunities that offer a higher standard of living for our residents.
BPCC joins other area higher education institutions as critical economic development contributors to Bossier Parish’s growth. And the contributor list includes an active and dynamic economic Chamber of Commerce and economic development foundation.
This growth did not just “happen.” Many people have planned, worked, and hoped for this result – all to our benefit. And for any who doubt Bossier Parish’s growth, a Sunday afternoon drive might be enough to convince any skeptics that Bossier might soon be one of the most desirable places to live in Louisiana.
Marty Carlson is a columnist for the Bossier Press-Tribune. She may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org