BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Bossier Parish leaders expect growth along Highway 80 to explode after a 45-million dollar sewer plant is completed in 2015.
The planned sewer plant is the parish's 45-million dollar solution to getting rid of the old and outdated ways of treating waste in the rural areas of the parish.
Right now there are 33 individually owned treatment plants in the Haughton area discharging their treated sewage into ditches and streams. Now leaders say the new plant will eliminate all of those plants and spur growth in the area.
While most residents tell KSLA News 12 they welcome the planned sewer plant with open arms, some like are turning their backs to new development that may follow.
Whitney Francis has lived in the Red Chute area of Bossier Parish all of her life. "I love it here, I guess that's why I'm still here," said Francis, but her quiet community has been changing.
Police Juror Glenn Benton explained to KSLA News 12, two of Bossier's largest subdivisions, Forest Hills and Dogwood have recently brought an influx of people. "There is not any place in this area that you don't flush a toilet, and it doesn't run through a creek in somebody's back yard," Benton explained and adds because each business and neighborhood must provide their own sewage treatment systems, some of the growth has been put on hold.
"There's one developer that's buying land up and down the Highway 80 corridor that's ready to start developing," said Benton.
Developers are waiting until the parish's 45-million dollar modern sewage plant is completed in 2015, Benton expects the growth to spike at that point. "We're trying to stay ahead as the growth comes to us and not just sitting here and waiting until we've got the growth then say uh-oh what are we going to do," said Benton.
He says in anticipation of the population surge, they are building new roads and fixing bridges. But not all people who live here want to see their area change, like Justin Dowty. "We have the outside the city feel without being too far from the city, I like to keep it that way," said Dowty.
Benton explained he hears a lot of feedback similar to Dowty's, but insists growth is good and there is no way to stop it. "People who own the land, they have a right to do what they want with the land," said Benton.
For lifetime resident Francis, she'd like to see her community kept small but is open minded to what future development might bring. "I think change is good, growth will probably be good for around here," said Francis.
According to Benton, the new sewer plant is a big deal for future schools in the area. Right now, schools can only be built where existing treatment plants are. This new plant will open up new locations where future schools can be built.