By Sean Green & Stacey Tinsley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bossier Parish is already one of the fastest growing parishes in the state, and there are no signs of it slowing any time soon.
Between Wednesday’s meeting of the parish police jury and public hearings scheduled at earlier meetings, there have been nine requests for new subdivision development and expansion of current subdivisions.
Jury members gave plat approval for proposed development of Forest Hills subdivision unit 11, Willow Heights subdivision unit 2, Redwood Place at Legacy subdivision unit 11 and Waterford Bend subdivision unit 2. Also receiving approval were proposed development of Bennett subdivision, Lampshire subdivision, Allen Acres subdivision and Ivey subdivision.
The Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation provided population and demographic info from Louisiana Economic Development for Bossier City, Benton, and Haughton to show where the areas of growth are.
Through May of 2018, there have been 144 residential construction permits issued in the parish, totaling $31,077,675. In the city, there have been 259 issued, valued at $24,765,600.
Carlotta Askew-Brown, assistant director of the Bossier City-Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC), noted the high-growth areas in Bossier as north Bossier with some new residential development happening in South Bossier.
“From my point of view, the majority of residential growth is primarily in north Bossier headed towards Benton,” she said.
Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker noted the current population estimate as of July 2014 is 70,322. “The City of Bossier City is very excited about the controlled growth of residential development,” he said. “Growth brings opportunities as well as challenges and the City carefully analyzes each proposed residential development to assess the cost of City support to the project. We do not want the cost of development to be a financial burden to existing citizens.”
He noted that growth generally means increased sales tax, which can then go toward supporting the city’s general fund.
“The bottom line is we are proud of the way our City is growing and that so many families consider Bossier City as a great place to live, work, and raise a family,” added Mayor Walker.
The eye test shows that Haughton is seeing growth as well. In addition to the aforementioned proposed development in Forest Hills, the July 18 police jury meeting saw approval of a planned expansion for Dogwood South subdivision.
Haughton Mayor Jack Hicks said his town, which is on the verge of officially being classified as a city, hopes to attract commercial and residential growth.
“Both of them are coming this way. At the moment, they are seeing more homes being built, but the businesses are coming as soon as the land is developed,” Mayor Hicks said.
He added there are many residents moving from other locations to Haughton, saying an estimated 100 new residents have moved to Haughton this year alone.
At the intersection on of Hwy. 157 and 3227, behind the Waffle House restaurant, there is a 200-acre track that will hold new business’s and homes.
“When the new development starts and finishes, it is estimated that 300 to 400 homes will move to Haughton,” Mayor Hicks said. “At this current time, there is no estimate of how much revenue will be brought in from the new business coming to the town of Haughton.”
Although residential growth is consistent across the parish, Askew-Brown said Bossier as a whole is not seeing as much “new commercial” growth.
“High land costs, high infrastructure costs make it hard for businesses to purchase and start from the ground up. We see more shopping center turn over than we do new construction. We have also experienced more business owners purchasing residential homes on Benton Road and Airline Drive and converting them into businesses,” she revealed.
Jessica Hemingway, director of marketing and communications with the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, added, “There is no way to estimate, at this time, what the business economic growth would be until houses and businesses are built.”