New census will prove growing pains in Bossier Parish

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Bossier Parish works on the Bridge over Flat River in summer 2019. (Courtesy photo)

This new year marks the start of a new decade, which means a new census is around the corner. This is big news for a parish that has seen the growth that Bossier has.

The 2010 census saw a little less than 117,000 people living in Bossier Parish. However, Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus estimates when the 2020 census is taken in April, there will be an additional 11,000 people accounted for.

“I estimate when the 2020 census is taken, around 128,000 will be counted in Bossier Parish,” said Altimus.

To put that in perspective, the population of seven to eight parishes in Louisiana does not equal just the growth that Bossier has seen over the last decade. In some of them, two of the parishes could be combined and still not equal 11,000 people.

Bill Altimus

“When you consider a whole parish has shown up in Bossier in 10 years, that’s something. That’s an additional 11,000 people on our roads, that’s housing that needs to be created, new medical facilities to take care of those folks, new schools to educate the kids, jobs to employ the people. And, the additional gas, electric, water, and sewer that need to be provided,” Altimus noted.

He said the growth has caused officials to come up with strategies to help accommodate more residents.

“I think the Swan Lake Road extension is a great example of that. That goes back to 2003-2004. We knew there was going to be a tremendous amount of growth in north Bossier, so we looked at a couple of different roads to increase capacity to move people around,” said Altimus.

He also noted that the census would show that Haughton’s classification will move up from a town to a city, and there will be growth proven in south Bossier.

Altimus noted that has led the Bossier Parish Police Jury to purchase land in south Bossier this year for future development.

“The police jury will be purchasing right of way for the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway extension south. That is important because we need to protect the corridor. There is very limited access to south Bossier to get around,” he revealed. “Those are things the jury is undertaking — not so much of importance right now, but things that will be in the future.”

He said the growing pains of Bossier Parish have been eased by a progressive police jury with foresight.

“The jury is really good at looking forward. It’s been a privilege to be involved in a number of economic issues that we know if successful are going to bring more people here, and that’s what we want. We want new jobs and we want better futures for the kids. We are steadily working towards that,” Altimus added.