Commissioner calls for new development along Cross Bayou
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - More than a month after the Shreveport City Council unanimously denied moving forward with a sports complex along Cross Bayou, one Caddo Parish Commissioner is calling for a new bipartisan effort to bring development to its shores.
District 7's Stormy Gage-Watts says when she looks out over the waters of Cross Bayou near Downtown Shreveport, she sees a big catch floating along its banks.
She said on a trip to Cleveland, Ohio, she saw development that spread from the downtown area down to the waterfront.
"And there were so many exclusive boutiques that we don't have here in Shreveport. It could be right there," she said. "I can see the kids running and playing along here with so much to do."
While miles of space still sit empty along the bayou, Gage-Watts made the point that if at one point, private investors like Corporate Realty were willing to spend $139 million on the area in a failed bid for a sports complex, then restaurants and shops can still bring jobs to the bayou and reel in even bigger businesses.
"We need those jobs," she said. "We need that type of investment in our city and our parish and I know that we can work together because we are one and I just want to see: What can we do?"
With more economic development, Gage-Watts believes Shreveport could have been more in the running to house larger companies like Amazon which is still searching for a location for their second headquarters.
In an interview earlier this week, Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler confirmed that they did toss their hat into the Amazon ring.
"We really wish we could say that Amazon is coming," she said. "We did reach out to Amazon but we don't have the assets that they need but we're going to be looking to see how else we can assist them."
"We don't have the economic impact for something like Amazon so we have to have something to be able to develop," Gage-Watts urged.
The commissioner is now calling on both the Shreveport City Council and Caddo Parish Commission to meet and come up with a bipartisan effort to bring new development to Cross Bayou.
For Gage-Watts, she says she'll gladly meet with Mayor Ollie Tyler, or any council member, or fellow commissioner to make it happen.
"This is our eclipse of Shreveport," she said. "This is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and if we don't sit down at the table and find out how we can come together, this is an opportunity that we'll be sad that we let past us."
When that proposed sports complex was voted down, Mayor Tyler said, during the meeting, that she will continue to pursue economic opportunities in Shreveport.
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