SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - It was an historic moment for Shreveport back in December 2014 when former Caddo School Superintendent Ollie Tyler became the first African American woman voted in as Shreveport mayor. During her swearing in ceremony she vowed to unify the city.
"Know without a doubt we will leave this city better than we found it," said Tyler.
That includes the 2011 Bond and putting that money to work and completing the Querbes Lift Station by replacing old pumps, controls, and piping. The 2011 Bond update will also make $49 million available for streets and drainage.
In an exclusive sit down interview with KSLA News 12's Domonique Benn, Mayor Tyler said, "We have 123 miles of streets in the city limits. About percent or more of those streets need something done whether replacing or repairing. We can't do it overnight, it didn't happen overnight."
About $3.8 million has already been spent on repairing several streets including Southern Avenue. Another $2.8 million will start this week on Russell Road, Gilbert Drive, Southern Loop, and more.
The mayor says fixing the roads leads to a better looking city. Mayor Tyler has started a campaign "Don't Be Trashy, Keep It Classy."
Signs with the saying are now posted throughout the city warning people who litter they will be fined and in some cases some judges may assign them to pick up debris.
While Mayor Tyler has been moving projects toward completion, she has also spent her first six months in office putting together a team to lead this city. This includes luring former Shreveport Fire Chief Brian Crawford back to Shreveport as the Chief Administrative Officer.
Mayor Tyler says she always admired Crawford and knew he was a hard worker. She also said he has a servant's heart and that she heard nothing but good reviews about his work ethic and his commitment to service.
Another key appointment is Will Bradford as the city's youngest city attorney. Despite a lot of controversy over his young age and some say inexperience, the mayor says Bradford has saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in her first six months in office. She says she is very proud of the work he is doing.
Tyler said, "Just to show you how dynamic the young man has been with his knowledge and experience of assembling his office, he has pulled together an outstanding team. He has saved this city over $300,000 already."
Bradford has done this by letting his office handle litigation and contracts rather than paying outside attorneys.
The mayor came in office during a tough time for the Shreveport Fire Department. Months before, a sex scandal broke at Fire Station 8, ultimately taking down a number of firefighters and Fire Chief Craig Mulford. Mayor Tyler promoted from within the department naming Scott Wolverton as the next Shreveport Fire Chief. She says she has already started seeing improvements in the fire department. Tyler says she can already see the integrity and morale coming back to the fire department.
The mayor says everything has run smoothly since her swearing in, but she has had to deal with the unexpected. Ice storms crippled parts of the city earlier this year and the historic Red River flooding drowned out parts of the Shreveport in June. Mayor Tyler, along with other city, parish, state and national leaders worked around the clock to make sure residents were safe. Now that it is over, Mayor Tyler says she is focused on helping people flooded out get back on their feet with temporary housing and community development.
She added, "My thought was these folks are going to need a lot of help and we are going to be there for them."
Tyler also released her strategic plan on how she plans to get projects done during her term. She also just received the "Next Generation Municipal Financial Empowerment" award which went to 5 mayors across the nation. It's an award for newly elected mayors taking office in 2014 or 2015.
The award includes a $20,000 grant which will help Mayor Tyler implement new innovative ideas.