Section of city could see more development with Kroger store
Both southeast Shreveport’s and north Bossier City’s retail districts are seeing and anticipating new additions. Last weekend Conn’s Home Plus celebrated its grand opening in Shreveport’s Kings Crossing Shopping Center, and in the not too distant future, Shreveport will also be home to a Whole Foods store.
On the east side of the river, folks traveling north Airline Drive can see construction on the new Sam’s Club. And next week’s Bossier City Council meeting will host a presentation by Kroger representatives interested in building a 123,000 square foot retail market (food and much more) between Lowes and Walmart on Airline Drive.
All of this growth means more job opportunities, more shopping choices, and increased sales and property tax revenues for Shreveport and Bossier City.
But for Bossier City, a new Kroger supermarket on Airline Drive also means traffic relief on this heavily traveled north-south corridor.
Last Tuesday’s Bossier City Council meeting was the occasion for City Engineer Mark Hudson to outline plans to extend Plantation Drive from its present terminus just past the new fire station to Viking Drive – a route that will take the extension behind the Lowes and Walmart.
Additionally the plan calls for the construction of “George Dement Boulevard” from Airline Drive, through the Kroger development, to connect with the extended Plantation Drive. Future plans include extending Douglas Drive and Melrose Drive to the new section of Plantation Drive.
Council members were quick to offer suggestions to possibly improve the road plan.
Council members Tommy Harvey and David Montgomery, noting that the Plantation Drive extension was to be a “wide two-lane” road, asked Hudson to look at the cost of a three-lane road to accommodate anticipated future growth with a turn-lane at the outset of the project.
Montgomery also suggested that entry to and exiting from new businesses along the Plantation extension might include a requirement that turn-lanes into the businesses be constructed at the same time.
Council members agreed that the Plantation extension, followed by future extensions of Douglas and Melrose Drives would encourage new business development and bring more in the way of property and sales tax to Bossier City’s coffers – as well as the coffers of other Bossier Parish taxing entities.
Following the meeting, Montgomery noted that a growing business and retail sector in Bossier City generates much needed sales taxes – the city’s largest revenue source.
“That’s what we run the general fund on … remember, we have to add about $1 million a year to balance the budget,” Montgomery said.
The city will invest about $7 million to the road construction aspect and other infrastructure upgrades for the Kroger project. Montgomery likened this cost to the $7.4 million the city and Bossier Parish spent for infrastructure in the Sterling (Target) Center.
According to City Finance Director Joe Buffington, the city and parish recouped their investment in about 18 months; Sterling generates about $600,000 per month in sales taxes – the city’s share is about $300,000 per month.
“That’s what this is all about,” Montgomery said, “… continuing the growth of sales and property taxes to fund the city.”
Marty Carlson is a columnist for the Bossier Press-Tribune. She may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org