Parish grew by twice average rate

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According to state officials, Bossier Parish has reached 125,000 residents.

State treasurer’s office estimates Bossier Parish, as of July 1, 2013, grew by 3,288. The average¬†yearly growth is an increase of¬†1,500 to 1,800.

“In 2000, our population was 99,820 and since then we’ve grown to 125,000. I think it’s safe to say Bossier Parish is still the fastest growing parish north of I-10,” said Parish Administrator Bill Altimus.

He credits the steady growth to Bossier’s leadership and cooperation among each other, as well as a convergence of factors such as a stable economy, safety, good schools, low cost of living and improved transportation.

“It’s a continuation of what we’ve been doing all along,” said Altimus. “Bossier has always been known as safe and the school system is first rate. I think that has a lot to do with what people are looking at.”

He explained that officials before him literally paved the way with foresight of coming growth.

“I can be from the parish courthouse in Benton to south Shreveport in 20 minutes. You can’t do that in Baton Rouge,” Altimus noted.

These same factors and growth have helped attract retailers and employers.

“We try to be business friendly, we’re very supportive and go out of our way to help businesses,” said Altimus. “Now the retailers are coming in. It’s a good example that businesses are going to be where the people are.”

The growth, both residentially and commercially, will undoubtedly put a strain on infrastructure.

“You’re always behind in infrastructure. We always try to be out front as far as transportation,” said Altimus.

The parish is currently constructing its parish-wide sewer system along the Highway 80 corridor to account for the booming population.

“Water and sewer are going to be crucial. It’s not an easy thing to do, that’s why we’re doing it,” said Altimus.

He said it’s a constant juggling act by the Police Jury to keep up while looking to what’s ahead.

“It’s everything we can do to try and stay with it and then look down the road as to how you can better things in the future. It’s a tough wire act but the jury has always done a good job of balancing that with limited funds.”