by Elliott Stobecipher
In my last report on and about the LA Hwy. 3132 Extension project I explained a bit about the Stage 1 Feasibility Study now underway. I then stressed that this phase is markedly different from the political op which was the Stage 0 study. Given that this one is federally funded, the regulations governing it place a premium on a more transparent process.
We must hope and trust such will become fact.
I note again, in context, that our Finish 3132 Coalition federal lawsuit option is alive and well should any such need occur. A few pertinent details in that regard were presented in my July 30, 2014, report to you. ‘Long story short, the “old” federal lawsuit was dismissed “without prejudice,” a legal distinction which specifically allows a new, more specifically directed federal court suit should one be necessary.
It is very important to remember that the Stage 1 Study was delayed for the better part of two years, by unconfirmed parties, for unknown reasons. Throughout that delay, local and state officialdom – with the exception of the board members and (some) staff of the Shreveport Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) – has helped developer and Bossier City Councilman Tim Larkin build his Esplanade subdivision in the area of the Extension route.
Now, three-and-a-half years after Mr. Larkin, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover and our NLCOG attempted to outright kill the Extension, the Port of Caddo-Bossier must take the lead in the governmental and political process necessary to get the Extension built, with all urgency.
Beware Political and Other Hooey – the “Let ‘Em Eat Cake Parkway”
Now – according to a variety of reports – Mr. Larkin and the wealthy, politically potent local interests quietly supporting him are beginning yet another op. This one would, we believe, subvert the Stage 1 Feasibility Study planning process and hasten even more construction within the Extension route area.
We wish we had more specifics. Candidly, the reports we are getting are, well, unbelievable.
We should suspend disbelief. If we know nothing else in this matter, we know to do that. The essence of these new and sketchy reports is that the developer has a plan to “build the highway himself.”
I know how that sounds. The problem is, this sounds like yet another reference to the “parkway” Mr. Larkin has intended to build since at least 2006, nestled against Bayou Pierre on its Railsback Road side, extending to the south.
That is, of course, also where the Extension would most likely be located.
Readers may remember that this “parkway” was intended by Larkin and those helping him to provide themselves a local alternative to Ellerbe Road. Their proposed roadway would
(a) unlock for further development much more land owned by these powerful few, and
(b) provide them their very own way out of having to travel ever-busier Ellerbe Road along with everyone else in the area. (Thus the name one Coalition friend gave it, the “Let ‘Em Eat Cake Parkway.”)
The Flournoy-Lucas end of this road was originally set to run straight into the 3132 Extension terminus by the use of the now famous 16-acre tract of land purchased and owned by Shreveport taxpayers. Mayor Glover, we learned, had handed-over perpetual use of that land to the developer, at a cost of only the “improvement” the roadway supposedly provided.
Obviously, assuming these preliminary bits of information prove accurate, this road would …
… not be a federal highway,
… not run anywhere nearly as far southeast as the Port of Caddo-Bossier,
… not alleviate 18-wheeler traffic on Flournoy-Lucas Road,
… provide no related benefit to the Port, a premier economic development engine for our area,
… jeopardize federal funding of the highway (according to Larkin’s own attorneys), and
… require the use of the Extension route which particularly and seriously damages existing homeowners at the northern and western extremes of the Twelve Oaks subdivision. (This does not include, for the record, the area in which my home is located.)
Unbelievable stuff … we know. ‘Problem is, such is the history of the Extension since right after the 16-acre tract was expropriated for the highway in 1999. Most of everything since then has been unbelievable, yet it all happened.
All Help Appreciated!
The Coalition would very much like any and all information our members and other readers may have on this subject. We know this supposed plan is nothing to laugh-off, but neither is it an alarm we want to sound if completely untrue.
While we are at it, we would also like to know if anyone has heard any candidates for mayor take a public stand in favor of the completion of the Extension to the Port. Given that many among the local media are supportive of the developer and his plans and actions, we know those facts may simply not be reaching the public.
Finish 3132 Coalition