THE ISSUE: Bossier City governing officials could possibly be facing the loss of potentially millions of taxpayer dollars in a current federal lawsuit concerning a south Bossier City development. Also at risk, is the loss of the development itself, which would have an estimated projected economic impact of $500,000,000. [Center for Busness and Economic Research, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Economic Impact Study; See also Shreveport Times].
WALKER PLACE - REVITALIZING SOUTH BOSSIER:
Incorporating smart growth, new urbanism, and green design, the approximately 52 acre mixed-use Walker Place Development would be the first private LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified development in north Louisiana. The development would include retail shopping, medical and multi-purpose office space, upscale townhomes, parks, and other amenities typically found only in major metropolitan areas. Additionally, the Walker Place Development has shared its vision with the City of Bossier City for extensive revitalization of Barksdale Boulevard itself.
WALKER PLACE VIDEO HERE (File is large and may take a few moments to load.)
BACKGROUND: In 2003, the City of Bossier City entered into negotiations with a local company for the purchase and development of approximately 24.8 acres of vacant land, owned by the City of Bossier, located just north of Walker Place (the road north of CenturyTel which connects the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway to Barksdale Boulevard in south Bossier City).
In 2005, the City of Bossier City encouraged and facilitated the developer's purchase of approximately 26 additional acres of adjoining land, thereby expanding the project to approximately 51 acres. [See MPC Minutes of 21Nov2005, P. 2]
In August, 2006, the Bossier City Council suddenly and unexpectedly passed an ordinance banning curb cuts along the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway. Citing a concern for "traffic flow", Councilman David Jones, introduced the ordinance. [See Page 2 Minutes HERE] According to the minutes, the ordinance not only banned future curb cuts, but also targeted any curb cuts "not already in existence prior to July 1, 2006" [See Minutes Page 3 HERE]
DEVELOPER SUES CITY OVER ACCESS TO TEAGUE: After having invested reportedly millions of dollars on the Walker Place Development project, in October, 2008, the developer filed suit in federal court.
According to the public record transcripts of a Memorandum Ruling on the federal lawsuit, the City of Bossier City contends that it was unaware of the need for the curb cut on the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway until May 25 and 30, 2006. The court writes:
"While the Defendants contend this was the first time MPC members knew of a curb cut, the Plaintiffs maintain, and the Court assumed to be true for purposes of the preliminary injunction proceeding, that many city officials knew of, and have given their oral approval to, the curb cut onto the Parkway." (Page 11)
TAXPAYER AGGREGATE LITIGATION EXPENSES:Under the authority of the Public Records Act of Louisiana, R.S. 44:1, on March 29, 2010, a private citizen presented a letter to the Mayor of Bossier City, Lorenz "Lo" Walker, requesting that the City of Bossier City disclose the total dollar amount of legal expenses already spent by the City of Bossier City in litigation regarding the Walker Place Development.
In response to a citizen's Public Records request, City Attorney Jimmy Hall produced documents detailing that as of March 1 2010, the City of Bossier City has spent $337,603.43 of taxpayer dollars in outside attorney fees to defend against the lawsuit.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
Foward the link to http://www.savesouthbossier.com/ to help inform other members of the Bossier City community about the Walker Place issue. Governmental offices contact information for Bossier City - Mayor Lo Walker HERE Bossier City Council HERE
Even if you don't live in south Bossier City, the loss of a lawsuit and/or the loss of Walker Place Development's $500,000,000 economic impact will have staggering consequences for all Bossier City residents, many of whom have families which are suffering loss of employment, home foreclosures, and a host of other economic hardships.
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