Shreveport Regional Airport parking nightmare nears end

By Jeff Ferrell – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – It's official:  The company running the parking lot at Shreveport Regional Airport must be gone by next Tuesday, July 6th.  But exactly what happens next is less clear.  What is certain:  The airport can soon earn money once again from the cars parked there.

The city just wanted its share of the money collected by Nationwide Parking Services at Shreveport Regional Airport; a share that reached 700-thousand dollars.  "The bottom line is, is that the nightmare of Nationwide Parking of Shreveport will come to an end by 4 p.m. of this coming Tuesday," announced Mayor Cedric Glover.

He spoke at a morning news conference held in his second floor conference room at Government Plaza, on this Friday before the 4th of July holiday weekend, effectively ending an 8-year business relationship between the city of Shreveport and Nationwide, which the airport authority had originally recommended against.  "We are in the process right now of reviewing four proposals from parking operators," added Glover.

The new company selected would serve on a month-to-month basis until a long-term solution is finalized.  The mayor said the city also plans to seek legal action against Nationwide Parking, "certainly in terms of its corporate capacity, but also more specifically to the individuals," elaborated Glover.

While Nationwide Parking declared bankruptcy protection back in February, only Thursday, July 1st did Judge A. Bruce Campbell, from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado reject the company's parking contract with the city.

For its part, Shreveport city and airport authority leaders may have learned a valuable, albeit expensive lesson for the next parking contract at Shreveport Regional Airport.  "Because what happened is the folks there with Nationwide collected the money, just refused to pay us.  So, I think our safeguard in the future would be that the money would be collected on behalf of the authority and then we would pay the operator," said airport director Roy Miller.

Airport budget woes had already led to the layoffs of 13 employees earlier this year.  "But, if we get a new operator in now we'll have six months of good revenue the remainder of the year," concluded Miller.

A new company could be operating the airport parking lot by the deadline for Nationwide Parking to leave.  If that doesn't happen by 4-pm on Tuesday, Mayor Glover said he's been reassured airport staff would be able to handle parking until a replacement company can begin operation.

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