BOSSIER MOVES FORWARD
Growth causes progressive approach to solving issues
The Bossier City Council’s Jan. 6 meeting was the occasion for a council resolution to refinance $20 million in 2008 transportation bonds for new transportation and redevelopment funding.
On Jan. 20, the council will consider $6.2 million in funding the second phase of the Airline Drive relief project; the $7 million first phase is well underway.
And a Jan. 8 news release from Bossier City administration notified city residents that the Bossier City Utility Department would “begin testing the city’s sewer system by using smoke to locate breaks or defects in the sewer lines.”
Taken separately, any one of these items suggest that a city that’s working on transportation and utility issues. But viewed as they’ve been announced in just a week or so reflects a city whose progressive approach to addressing major and costly issues simultaneously is rewarded by consistent growth.
Funding for the first phase of the Airline Drive project was approved less than a year ago by the council, and the city wasted no time moving dirt as both the Airline Drive and Viking Drive sections of this phase are quickly looking like roadways. The second phase, which will complete the project, will allow motorists to drive from Plantation Drive to Viking Drive without putting a tire on Airline Drive.
This new road also opens up the area to the east of Airline Drive, behind current businesses, to new development.
Another major project on the city’s to-do list is the north extension of the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway. At-large City Councilman David Montgomery said $15 million of the $20 million refinanced funding will be paired with $9 million the city’s utility fund is expected to repay to the Riverboat Capital Gaming fund for a total of $24 million to pay for the extension – and related overpass.
Montgomery described the parkway extension as starting where it now ends on East Texas Street in front of Louisiana Boardwalk. It would follow Highway 80 northeast, to the police training academy as a first phase. The city has already purchased right-of-way along this path, and construction would straighten out the road curve in this area.
The second phase would see the new parkway extension begin a slow rise to an overpass in the vicinity of the city’s water treatment plant, and then come down and end at Montgomery Lane, with a major intersection at that point on Benton Road. Montgomery believes this project could be completed in three and a half years.
Savings derived from the refinancing of the $20 million, approximately $200,000 to $300,000, per Montgomery, would generate between $3 million and $5 million, which would be dedicated to downtown development. The city has already commissioned a master plan for the redevelopment of this area, and Montgomery believes that old downtown Bossier could become a “thriving marketplace” with small businesses, condominiums and apartments.
Such new development, and that along the new Airline Drive relief road will fuel the growth of what Bossier City runs on – sales taxes, and to a lesser extent, property taxes.
But transportation and re-development efforts aren’t all that’s coming out of Bossier City Hall. The city continues to refine its state-of-the-art utility system.
So, at the same time so many other projects are in the works, the city’s new South Bossier sewer treatment plant is now on-line, and components of the old facility are being removed. Screening landscaping (Leland cypress trees) has already been planted – and now comes yet another step in the process of ensuring the entire system is functional and in good repair.
The smoke testing of the sewer lines over the next few months is part of a $1.5 million effort to conduct an in-depth examination of the system and rectify any deficiencies found, as well as develop improvements to the system.
Bossier City’s multitasking to dramatically improve all aspects of the city is paying off – with new businesses and new interests in this area of the state. But it doesn’t stop there; next issue an update on the forward momentum of the Bossier Parish Police Jury and Bossier Parish School Board.