2017 was a busy year that brought both tragedy and promise to the ArkLaTex. So what will the new year hold?
SHREVEPORT DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT:
2018 is expected to bring some new additions to downtown Shreveport.
Several new restaurants are planned. Food truck- turned- restaurant The Missing Link is expected to open sometime in 2018 in the Historic Hutchinson building. Proud Mary's and Frida's Bar and Grill are also slated to open downtown in 2018.
The former Commercial National Bank building will open as The Standard in 2018. The high-end luxury apartments featuring over 80 apartment units and several amenities.
Attention remains on Sci-Port for a potential 2018 reopening. The science center shut down during the second half of 2017 after reaching a new management agreement with Planet Aqua Group.
Renovations are underway, but it remains unclear when they will be finished. The original timeline had the science center opening by the end of 2017.
POLITICS AND ELECTIONS:
There could also be a shakeup in city and state leadership in 2018 when voters head to the polls.
Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler is up for re-election. Several Shreveport City Council seats will also be on the ballot as a few council members are termed out.
There will also be a mayoral race up in Texarkana, Arkansas.
Voters in Texas and Arkansas will also choose Governors in the new year.
All members of the House of Representatives will be up for election.
Will it stay or will it go in 2018? A federal judge is still weighing whether a lawsuit over the Confederate monument outside the Caddo Courthouse can move forward. The judge did rule that individual commissioners be removed from the lawsuit.
Caddo Commissioners voted to remove it in October but The United Daughters of the Confederacy claims they own the land underneath the monument.
If the judge rules in favor of the United Daughters, then this controversy will likely go to a full trial in 2018.
The New Year will bring changes to healthcare too, especially the University Health System. Ochsner Health, LSU Health Sciences Center and BRF took a step toward a collective merger in December by signing letters of intent to operate a health system in Shreveport.
A final agreement setting up the new university health organization should be finalized in early summer of 2018.
Shreveport reached close to 50 murders in 2017. Crime fighting strategies are sure to be a continuing topic of debate in the new year.
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