Allendale Strong makes special presentation to planning commission

Grassroots group promotes 2 alternatives to I-49 inner-city connector
Shreveport's Allendale neighborhood is opposed to the I-49 connector.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 2:54 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Allendale Strong made a special presentation to the Shreveport-Caddo Metropolitan Planning Commission. The gathering that started at 3 p.m. Wednesday (May 31) can be viewed below:

The meeting afforded new insight into the debate over the I-49 inner-city connector that’s expected to run through Shreveport’s Allendale neighborhood, a 3.5-mile project we’ve been reporting on for years.

Allendale Strong is an 11-year-old grassroots organization that has presented to strong opposition to the connector. Instead, the group promotes two alternatives to the project that would separate local traffic from through traffic.

“We know how it comes through neighborhoods and separates and divide. We know how it pushes jobs out,” Dorothy Wiley, president of Allendale Strong, said.

“The only thing we’re trying to do is get the message across, let’s not bring a freeway through any neighborhood. It’s not about a racist thing. But a freeway should not be built through any neighborhood or any community.”

Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux said the connector has been delayed for at least seven years, and it’s time to move forward.

“I think part of the reason Allendale has had difficulty rebounding is the delay of I-49. If it had been constructed on schedule, it would already be there and it would be easier for people to develop in Allendale,” the mayor said. “What’s happened now is the uncertainty and delay, that’s what has caused the lack of development in Allendale, in my opinion.”

Allendale Strong members said they want to be part of the discussions about the connector.

“I want us to be able to come to the table and to collaborate and to do the right thing,” Wiley said. "Even though I haven’t lived in Allendale all my life, but the people who live there see the harm that I-20 brought through when it separated and divided.”

Arceneaux said there may not be a compromise with Allendale Strong about the connector. “Based on the presentations that they have and the presentations they made, I think that’s doubtful and I think this is a win-or-lose situation.”

Allendale Strong told KSLA News 12 they plan to host more meetings to voice their rejection of having the I-49 inner-city connector in their neighborhood.