South Bossier residents see results of city lawsuit settlement

South Bossier residents see results of city lawsuit settlement
A $2.4 million pedestrian bridge now stretches across the ART parkway.
A $2.4 million pedestrian bridge now stretches across the ART parkway.

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - South Bossier residents are now beginning to see some of the results of a 2012 lawsuit settlement between Bossier City and developer UL Coleman Company.

The city is working to comply with building requirements that came out of a lawsuit settlement with developer UL Coleman Company, who sued after being denied direct access to the Arthur Teague Parkway for their new "Walker Place" mixed-use development.

As a result of the settlement, a more than $2.4 million mostly-complete pedestrian bridge now stretches across the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway. Meeting minutes indicate there have been change orders to the bridge, though the amount added to the final price is unclear.

"It seems way out of place, like it shouldn't be there," South Bossier resident Joel Hays said of the bridge.

"Well, I think is a lot safer, to just cross over the road," South Bossier resident Adriana Mitchell said.

Just a few hundred feet away from the bridge, contractors are working to build a new city park, also mandated by the settlement. Initially, the park was expected to cost about $1 million, but now carries the total cost of up to $2.8 million, according to city council meeting minutes.

"The more parks, the merrier, it's for the kids," said Travis Smiley, who is a frequent visitor to South Bossier City.

As a result of the lawsuit settlement, the process to build and design this park and bridge has to be collaborative between both parties of the settlement.

Everything about the projects, from the look of the metal on the bridge to the features at the park have had to be hashed out in federal court.

One representative from UL Coleman Company and one from Bossier City have been meeting with a federal judge to discuss the project at least once a month.

Minutes from those meetings reveal the planning process hasn't been without hiccups. As recently as June 8, the meeting minutes reveal a dispute where the developer wanted more expensive pole lights for the park, rather than the bollard lights the city planned to purchase.

The developer offered to pay for the upgrade, but delivered a check 4 days after the deadline, with conditions attached. The meeting minutes did not go into detail about what the conditions involved.

Both parties couldn't agree about the conditions by a court-imposed deadline and the judge allowed the city to purchase the cheaper lights.

Regardless of how or why the projects are being built, the Guin family is excited about the park,which will have trails, an overlook area, and 2 ponds.

"It's for family, it's going to be awesome, I think" said Gina Guin. But some question the need for the pedestrian bridge.

"I think it is a waste of money, there really is no point in it," said Hays.

South Bossier Councilman Scott Irwin feels the bridge is a great addition to the community. "It'll be very convenient for bikers to cross the parkway and get on to the miles of trails that are already in existence."

Also as part of the settlement, the city and developer are in the final stages of a redevelopment plan that will transform the look of a 10 block area near the bridge and park.

Project Manager Mike McSwain told the court at the end of May that the projects are running 5 to 8 weeks behind schedule because of the weather.

The pedestrian bridge is on target to be completed by July 31 and the park is expected to be finished by September.

We reached out to UL Coleman Company and the city to get more detailed information about the projects. However, both the city engineer and a public relations spokesman with UL Coleman Company are unavailable until Monday.

Copyright 2015 KSLA. All rights reserved.