SHREVEPORT, LA - This is one of those stories that is really too close to me that I am certain I can not be impartial. I will offend some people and for that I am sorry, but not sorry. This is my opinion and I can finally let loose. The Shreveport City Council has now approved an additional $4.5 million to move forward with the Knight Street construction project. We have been waiting for this for 13 years.

Erin McCarty
Erin McCarty

What Was in the Shreveport Bond Issue in 2011?

Shreveport leaders have failed us for years. In 2011, citizens of Shreveport passed a $175 million dollar bond proposal for water and sewer, public safety and streets and drainage. $44 million of that was for streets. To the credit of the bond study committee and the city council along with Mayor Cedric Glover, a list of street projects was presented to voters. We passed it.

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What Went Wrong with This Bond Package?

I wish I knew the full answer to this question. But one of the major projects on the list was Knight Street. $3.5 million was included to widen Knight Street, construct sidewalks and install lighting. But things really didn't get moving on the Knight Street work. I have been told one of the reasons is that city leaders try to involve local companies first and they can only handle so many projects in a year. One contractor even told me it would be better for the city to bring in outside contractors after a bond issue to get all the work going. This would still mean jobs, but not all of the money would stay local.

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Who Failed the Citizens of Shreveport?

I am going to start with the Glover administration. Getting these projects going was slow. I do understand it takes time to sell the bonds and get things moving. But someone should have done a better job of tracking the projects.

I also blame the Ollie Tyler administration. Though she did give an update on the 2011 bond package, her administration projected a 2016 completion of Knight Street. It didn't happen.

The Adrian Perkins administration also has to take some blame for this debacle. They knew all about the Knight Street delays but still did not get things moving. In fact, some of the expropriation of the property did not happen until the 3rd year of the Perkins administration. That's not the fault of Perkins. That's the fault of city officials who just dropped the ball. And no one was following up.

The BHP YMCA opened in 2017 and this generated even more traffic on Knight Street. Walmart has also generated a ton of traffic. There's also lots of foot traffic from folks walking from various apartment complexes to Walmart.

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What Changes Should the City of Shreveport Make?

We must hold our leaders accountable. Our mayor and city council members have to provide regular updates on projects in the works. I am also calling for a project manager or some sort of oversight person to be the watchdog for future bond projects. We can not let something linger for more than a decade ever again. The price tag for Knight Street has more than doubled and it's all because of sloppy government oversight.

Councilmembers need to demand a regular update on bond projects. They need to be in the loop on where we are on completing these improvements. Afterall, we call on the council members to sell these packages to the voters.

If Mayor Tom Arceneaux and this City Council want to come to the voters for another bond issue this spring, I will lead the charge to make sure something like the Knight Street debacle never happens again.


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