SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Shreveport's proposed new sports complex is being met with support and opposition from both sides of the fence.
In a news conference on Tuesday, September 5, a group called Slam Dunk for Shreveport explained why they fully support the G-league area.
According to the group's Facebook page, "Slam Dunk for Shreveport is a group of area citizens in support of a sports arena and retail-restaurant-residential development in downtown Shreveport."
The group believes Shreveport's Sports Complex will be the centerpiece of a vibrant riverfront mixed-use development adjacent to downtown Shreveport and the existing Shreveport Convention Center.
The group joins the Mayor Ollie Tyler and several city council members in support of the controversial development.
Mayor Tyler said the proposed complex could bring a number of youth programs to the city. She says those programs could help fight crime in Shreveport by keeping kids busy and engaged.
The mayor's decision to support the new complex was faced with opposition from the police union who argued the money should be spent on other things such as pay increases for officers.
Tyler rebutted that there is a 2 percent yearly salary hike that's actually only mandatory for firefighters, but they include police because of the sacrifices and risks involved in protecting the city.
Tyler insists they will be able to afford larger pay hikes, along with many other expenses, if the sports complex is built, especially if they're able to bring the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans' G-League team to the city.
It's a possibility many residents disagree with.
An online petition started by Alysia Fletcher, she says, "Citizens of Shreveport do not want a new arena constructed, but welcome any new sports clubs or teams that are interested in playing in currently available facilities."
With a 500 goal on change.org, the petition is nearly there with 492 signatures.
Shreveport City Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch is a vocal opposition to the arena, saying the city has other priorities such as crime, property standards issues, and more to address.
The Downtown Development Authority anticipates there will be enough people at a presentation of the Cross Bayou Development Proposal in case it comes to a vote on Thursday, Sept. 7 at 2 p.m. in the Mayor's Conference Room. This meeting is open to the public.