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Monday, Aug. 17, 2015

Greenspace in Sight

Architect set to make mark on downtown bossier city

street view at town center

Architect set to make mark on downtown Bossier City

Mike McSwain, an architect in Shreveport-Bossier City, is in the midst a multi-year and multidimensional project that will literally, and dynamically, transform the face of downtown Bossier City.

The project called the Downtown Bossier City Re-envisioning Plan was presented at the Bossier City Council’s on July 7 meeting by McSwain and Sean Sims, president of SK Studios in Kansas City, Mo. McSwain and Sims opened the presentation with the basis for considering “re-envisioning” old Bossier.

McSwain presented the plan to create a multi-use town center that will offer Bossier residents green space as well as a town center that will provide both retail opportunities with living environments on top.

David “Rocky” Rockett, executive director/president of the Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation, sees bright prospects ahead for this project.

“The opportunity to create a walking community where you can merge existing businesses into a center where you can be entertained, live and work are indeed rare and unique,” Rockett said. “The Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation is very excited about what the city and Mike McSwain are doing for the future of our downtown in Bossier City. Along with Mayor Lo Walker, their vision to meet the requirements to enhance our community for the millennial workforce is phenomenal.”

Focus groups across the country interviewed by the McSwain team revealed that millennials, the young workforce between 18 and 30, like the sort of walking environment McSwain is set to create in downtown Bossier City where they can live within easy reach of retail, cafes and entertainment.

McSwain and Sims proposed a starting point, and preliminary improvements, beginning with an initial plaza space and a new retail street off of Barksdale Boulevard. The first phase also includes significant improvement to Barksdale Boulevard, and utility work. New buildings are planned by commercial interests in the area; planners see a synergy evolving as new additions to this area join existing businesses.

The development will include a horseshoe-shaped area that could easily be closed off for festivals, outdoor entertainment and other community events. The center will include retail spaces on the bottom floor and apartments or condos above. The center will also have new streets with dedicated bike lanes. From the center of the development, the space will become less dense following the area with more neighborhoods and residential areas.

“We are creating for the long haul. I am excited at the thought of leaving a legacy that will change the community for the better-forever,” McSwain said.

Bossier City residents can expect this project to move along quickly as the city has already invested about $10 million in the plan.

“We applaud the city and its partners, and Mike McSwain for their efforts to create, from a blank slate, something we can all be proud of,” Rockett said.

–Karl Hasten

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