BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - The Bossier City Council voted on an ordinance Tuesday to set aside $1 million for property acquisition in old Downtown Bossier City. However, city council members don't know of a concrete plan about what property they wish to purchase, or who they would turn around and sell it to.
According to a city spokesman, Mayor Lo Walker put the ordinance on Tuesday's agenda. At least one Downtown Bossier City business owner worries council members are doing things backwards by voting on funding before they are even presented with a plan of what they are paying for. "It is not their money, so without saying what they are going to do with that money, I just don't think it is right. It shouldn't be allowed," said embroidery shop owner of 10 years, Sandra Slaughter.
A city spokesman says while there is no plan set in stone, they do know the money would be set aside to buy a piece of the downtown area to later sell to a developer for economic development purposes.
Slaughter says she didn't even know the council would be voting on the ordinance Tuesday. The wording on the agenda is vague, basically asking council members to allow city leaders to set aside $1 million to buy property, but not saying where.
"Well it doesn't really tell me anything does it?" said Slaughter looking at the council agenda. "It doesn't tell me any details, it doesn't tell me anything," she said.
The ordinance document itself, which is only available to the public if it is requested, goes only a little further saying the property would be in downtown Bossier.
"What's the plan?" Slaughter questioned. "Are they going to knock buildings down? There are a lot of questions that come up as a business owner as to what this is going to do for my business?"
KSLA News 12 reached out to the council members for answers. Only Councilman Thomas Harvey was available for an interview. He says the council wasn't told which parts of downtown the city is thinking about buying.
"I think this is more in preparation, of when the city decides which properties will fit into the development plan, that is in development" says Harvey.
Harvey admits he is unsure of why they would voted on funding before being presented with a plan,
"That is a good question," he said.
Slaughter is worried the council is essentially writing the check for the project, even without knowing all of the details of how it could transform the area.
"I'd hope it is for something positive and it's not just to make this area look better, at any cost," Slaughter explained. "Hopefully it is going to just bring more business, more people, that's all great, but we don't know, do we? We have no clue."
However, Harvey says business owners have nothing to worry about because they are interesting in adding businesses, not taking over existing ones.
"As far as existing buildings, I have not heard of any plan that encompasses purchasing buildings, we're trying to develop a downtown area, we don't want to take businesses that are there and get rid of them," Harvey said.
City Council members voted in September of 2014 to pay architect Mike McSwain $73,800 with the riverboat gaming funds to come up with a master plan for the downtown area, that plan has not yet been released.
The council will vote a final time on the ordinance on February 17.