BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - A nearly $5 million park and pedestrian bridge are now fully complete and open in South Bossier City between Century Link Center Drive and Arthur Ray Teague Parkway. The city's two latest completed projects opened up without an official announcement and zero fan fare.
Bossier City Spokesman Mark Natale explained at this time, the city has no plans to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony, "Word of the park's completion has spread thoroughly through media reports, social media and word of mouth as indicated by the large number of people already visiting Walker Place Park," said Natale in an emailed statement.
For many in the South Bossier community, like Daniel Blount, he discovered the park by seeing others there.
"When I started seeing other people besides the construction crew go in there, I was like okay, I'm going to try it out," said Blount, who has already visited the park 3 times.
The city had to build the park and bridge because of a lawsuit settlement between local developer U.L. Coleman. U.L. Coleman sued Bossier City in 2008 after being denied direct access to the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway. The company wanted it for their planned apartment complex, that has yet to be built.
As a result of the settlement, everything about the projects, from the look of the metal on the bridge to the features at the park had to be hashed out in federal court between both parties. After months of discussions, disagreements, and weather delays, South Bossier resident Michael Duddy likes the results.
"I think it is a good thing for South Bossier to have a new park," he said.
Initially the city had planned to spend $1 million on the park, by the end of it all, ended up spending more than double that, but on the other hand, the pedestrian bridge here ended up coming in a little under budget. The total cost for the bridge was a little more than $2.5 million, with the park coming in close to $2.4 million.
According to Natale, in September of 2014 the city council unanimously passed an ordinance to allocate an additional $1.5 million from the Riverboat Capital Projects Fund for the park's construction.
"In addition to that money, about $300,000 in savings from the Pedestrian Bridge project was also transferred to the Walker Place Park construction budget," Natale said.
Natale explained the added costs, "After careful consideration, the city found that $1 million would not adequately fund construction of the park and would limit the amount of amenities that the park would have to offer," he said. "Therefore, the city administration decided to invest more funds into the Walker Place Park project in order to build a bigger and better park for Bossier City residents."
As a result of the added funds, Natale said South Bossier City now has a first class park for residents and visitors to enjoy.
Also as part of the settlement, the city has agreed to redevelop the look of a few blocks near the bridge and park. However, those plans are on hold after the developer took the city to court again in November for a two day trial, accusing the city of violating the lawsuit settlement agreement.
The federal judge who heard the arguments has not yet issued his decision.
KSLA News 12 reached out to U.L. Coleman Companies for a comment on the complete park and bridge. We also asked for a timeline for when the Walker Place mixed use development is expected to break ground.
We have not heard back yet.