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Shreveport is losing a huge advocate for downtown.  Liz Swaine, a familiar face to many from her years as a news anchor at KTBS, has been the Director for the Downtown Development Authority for the past 13 years working hard at what some have considered an uphill battle.

Like every city across the country, Shreveport, of course, has it's share of issues.  But we also have a lot of positive things happening in our area, including downtown, and Swaine has worked to promote those positives, including new businesses, new residential developments, and the moving of the Louisiana State Building from Fairfield and Jordan to the Joe D. Waggoner building downtown.

But, unfortunately for downtown Shreveport, Liz has decided to step down, and return to her roots in journalism.  She recently published her goodbye through the DDA Facebook page.

Liz Swaine/DDA
Liz Swaine/DDA

This is a sad and happy day for me. 

After 13 years as head of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation (DSDC), I am leaving the job. I am not leaving downtown – my husband and I still live here, my work office will be here, and my love for our beautiful city center is as intense today as it ever was. 

 Change is a constant but the one thing that should never, ever waver is effort to support and strengthen our downtown.  Some very wise person once quipped that “There is no great city without a great downtown.” Those words are simple but true. To get that great downtown is going to require everyone pulling together. It is going to take the desire, work, investment, and the bully pulpit of elected officials. It is going to require that our community focus on the good happening downtown while also demanding that issues that are creating concern for residents, businesses and visitors be dealt with quickly. It is going to mean taking brave steps and doing things that we might not have tried before. The ‘getting there’ could be difficult, but the outcome could be amazing. 

  To my downtown partners that have ranged from business and property owners to city employees to nonprofits to artists and everyone in-between, thank you. It is because of your effort and attitude that we have seen the redevelopment of dozens of buildings, the surge in residential opportunities, new businesses, and a huge variety of events of all types. 

Downtown is on the grow, but there is so much more to do. I urge you to be a part of that growth in whatever way you can. 

Be a downtown supporter. Patronize downtown businesses, come to downtown events. Think of downtown first for office space, as a place to live or when looking to purchase a building. Advocate for laws that make downtown safer and more appealing and push to redirect Riverfront Development Fund dollars back into downtown projects. The end result can be that downtown that we all know it can be.  I look forward to seeing what we can all accomplish. 

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