ArkLaTex InDepth: Shreveport Economic Development - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

ArkLaTex InDepth: Shreveport Economic Development

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It's a sore point with some, that the city of Shreveport hasn't had a point person to head up economic development. We spoke with local officials including mayor glover about how they've been handling marketing Shreveport and what's on the horizon. State Representative Patrick Williams said, Shreveport needs a go to person for the city's economic development. "Let the people know what we have to offer. I think that's been our major downfall, we haven't been marketing our resources the way they need to be marketed."
Helen Godfrey Smith is President and CEO of Shreveport Federal Credit Union agrees. "It's critical that we have someone focus because economic development is so dependent upon strategic directives and policy adjustments."

But then Shreveport sells itself, says Dick Bremer with the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. Bremer said, "It's not uncommon if we could get people to come and take a look at the area, they are quite impressed with what they see."

The Master Plan for Shreveport and Caddo Parish calls for a joint effort between the city and parish officials to work together to spur economic development. But the coalition stalled when they couldn't come to an agreement on who would sit on the joint economic development board, said Randy Lucky, Assistant Parish Administrator. "At some point in time, if our commissioners want to go forward and the city council members want to go forward. That's   what it's going to take. It doesn't have anything to do with the administration, it has everything to do with the politicians and then boom making this thing happen. We're ready to rock and roll if they are."

That's why Mayor Cedric Glover and Shreveport officials are working on their Plan B.
Glover said, "What we have done from the Mayor's office is task David Dodd with working with us and developing a Shreveport specific approach that would allow us to still move forward." David Dodd is a local economic developer who has years of experience working to sell Shreveport. Glover says his plan will feature a board outside of city hall...Which works to recruit businesses. Glover said, "We believe that you should have an economic development team, plan and process that ends up being separate and apart from those of us that hold these political positions."

In the meantime, Glover says he's proud of the work they've been able to do during his administration.  Ron Pack and Elio Motors are among new industries to the area. He also points to attracting block buster film productions to the area as well as digital media company millennium studios. Glover said, "In an area of our city, that was once an official and unofficial red light district filled with illicit activity you now have a 14 million dollar state of the art media production facility that's there."

Yet there are still those that say the city needs a person to oversee a broader economic vision. To that argument glover offers this response. "I would offer  to them, the proof is in the pudding. If you look at where we are right now and the companies we've been able to attract."

While Glover and his administration work together to come up with a permanent solution for the office of economic development in Shreveport, Glover says he'll continue to be hands on with selling Shreveport. "While you surround yourself with a great team, the person who ultimately speaks best for the city of Shreveport in addition to the professionals that you work with."

Glover says he still hopes to collaborate more with the parish to attract industry, but  there's no timeline just yet. Until then he plans to have his plan for an economic recruitment board before the city council in coming weeks.

Forbes Magazine ranked Shreveport as one of the best places to find a home and a job since 2009. "Site Selection Magazine" says Shreveport is among the top 10 places to do business in 2010 and 2012.

Here's a list of the businesses the city has retained, expanded or attracted. They are Pratt Industries, Dr. Reddy's Pharmaceuticals, Libbey Glass, Ron Pack Worldwide Headquarters, Tire Rack, TelePerformance Call Center, Music Mountain Water, Benteler Steel and Schlumberger.


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