Council considering proposals to fund arena, oppose the project

Published: Sep. 11, 2017 at 7:11 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2017 at 7:40 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Two resolutions about Shreveport's proposed sports arena are expected to be voted on by City Council members Tuesday afternoon.

One opposes the project; the other takes the first step toward financing it.

During their work session, City Council members discussed a resolution introduced a few weeks ago that would allow Mayor Ollie Tyler to take the first steps toward securing the $30 million in bonds needed to fund the complex.

Meantime, a Shreveport councilwoman does not want the NBA to bring a g-league team to town.

So Stephanie Lynch, in a separate resolution, urges Tyler to decline the opportunity to bring the squad affiliated with the New Orleans Pelicans to Shreveport.

Shreveport is bidding to host the g-league team. As part of it proposal, the city wants to build a sports arenas and adjoining multiuse development.

In a news release, Lynch cites:

  • taxpayers' alleged overwhelming opposition to the proposed sports complex,
  • environmental concerns at the proposed site, and,
  • concerns that the funding mechanism for the sports complex will further erode the city's ability to financially address crime, infrastructure needs, employee raises and to provide vital city services with no new taxes or fees.

Lynch's resolution is being co-sponsored by Councilman Willie Bradford, who also has voiced strong opposition to the mayor's plan to expend $30 million on the sports complex.

Lynch did not attend Monday's work session.

Chief Administrative Officer Brian Crawford said the city does not have all the answers to council's questions yet. But by voting yes tomorrow, he says the city can work together to get those answers and send a message of unity to the Pelicans.

Mayor Tyler remains hopeful.

"I think this is something that is so critical for Shreveport as a catalyst to help us grow. I plan to continue to pursue it as long as the legislation will allow me," Tyler told KSLA News 12.

Tyler said that upon seeing Shreveport's proposal, Pensacola has now committed to building a new sports arena for the Pelicans and is pushing hard for the team as well.

The mayor thinks the development would be a major economic driver.

The $169 million price tag would be financed through a public-private partnership. Council members also received an economic impact presentation from Corporate Realty Group Monday. That's the group financing the surrounding mixed-use development. The Alabama developers said the arena is a key to their investment in Cross Bayou.

Councilman Flurry cited a large volume of calls and e-mail council members have been getting opposed to the arena.

"It's the citizens are speaking, loudly. You may not be hearing them in the Mayor's office, but we are, each one of us. And they are calling the mayor names of which I do not agree," said Flurry.

Councilman Corbin cited the need to get more accurate information to the public about their questions.

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