COMING TO LIFE
The Bossier City Council’s March 15 meeting was the occasion for opening bids for the first phase of the transformation of the city’s old downtown area.
If anyone wonders about Bossier City’s and Parish’s consistent growth – it’s likely found in local governments’ consistent progress to give residents many reasons to want to live in our little corner of Northwest Louisiana. And what’s about to happen in old Bossier is yet another of those reasons.
This isn’t actually the beginning of the effort – the city has been at work cleaning up the area for months in anticipation of moving forward on the first phase of re-making old Bossier. The estimated $13.5 million project, according to city Project Director Pam Glorioso is the “public component” of what will complement private development of the area. The contractor for the project is local business Boggs & Poole Contracting Group, Inc.
“All those pretty pictures we’ve been showing you – those are about to come to life,” said Glorioso, describing the makeover residents soon see.
This first phase of the project focuses on Traffic Street to Hamilton Road – where the “right sizing” redesign of Barksdale Boulevard will take it down to two lanes bordered by defined bike lanes, wide sidewalks and landscaping. Utility lines along Barksdale Boulevard, Monroe, Arcadia and Ogilvie streets will disappear as they go underground.
And a component many are looking forward to enjoying – the event plaza – is also a part of this project.
Glorioso said before the contractor starts the project, the city will schedule a public meeting for property owners in the area to discuss the work that’s planned and let the owners know what will be happening.
Glorioso stressed the “public component” nature of the project, explaining that the city’s plan and work is designed to create an environment that will draw private interest and investment to the old downtown area. She said such interest already has been evident as the city has moved the reenvisioning project forward.
“It’s not all talk,” she said of the city’s efforts. “We’re doing this.”
At the other end of the progress spectrum (and the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway) even an unplanned and grudgingly accomplished project can end up as a very popular and progressive addition to the city.
The Walker Place Park in south Bossier was constructed as a part of the settlement to end a lawsuit. It was an oft-cussed and costly project.
Located between Walker Place and CenturyLink Arena, the park features two ponds, a well-designed trail, benches and picnic areas – and, surprisingly, a much used pedestrian bridge that connects the park to the ART trail across the parkway.
This park is almost constantly enjoyed.
While the ART trail generally attracts adult walkers (and often their dogs), cyclists and runners, Walker Place attracts families (and again their dogs) – children on bikes, children in strollers, and children just running – really define the “family” nature of the park. It also sports a wide “food truck” drive that hopefully will soon see a few Saturday afternoon food trucks.
In the meantime, look for more progressive vision and planning to continue to grow Bossier City and Parish.
Marty Carlson, a freelance writer, has been covering local news for the past 17 years. She can be reached via email at martycarlson1218@ gmail.com.