MEMO OF UNDERSTANDING VOTE –Shreveport’s City Council met before a standing room only crowd late yesterday afternoon as attendance was high because of one particular item on the agenda. The council was to vote on a binding memorandum of understanding between the city and a development group Gateway Consortium – the purpose of which was aimed at entering a “good-faith negotiation on a master development agreement for an estimated $1 billion-plus dollar project. Currently Gateway Consortium developers have proposed a mixed-use development of living and commercial space, public buildings, with sports and recreational venues along Cross Bayou near downtown. The developers want the city to acquire approximately 88 acres along Cross Bayou and nearby downtown to facilitate the project.
Among those who made public comments in favor of the proposal was Shreveport resident :Dock Voorhies. He cited the potential for job creation and boost to the local economy.
"We got to take a chance, we got to invest," Voorhies said. "Shreveport deserves it and the alternative is just not very good. I'm in strong support of this project."
But there were those who expressed skepticism about the proposed development including local physician Dr. Phillip Rozeman
"With this economy I just feel like it's hard to believe there'll be enough people to fill all the added housing and vacant housing and would warn about that," explained Rozeman. "Each of you who believe in 'build it and they will come', you just have to ask, come from where and come for what?"
Rozeman cited a recent business journal’s report on Shreveport job losses and employment opportunities. At the end of it all the proposed memorandum of understanding fell one vote shy of getting the council’s approval. It remains to be seen what the Gateway Consortium plans to do next. We will update this story as it develops.