Cross Bayou Point rendering

An artist's rendering shows part of the proposed Cross Bayou Point.

SHREVEPORT, La. - Cross Bayou Point is at a crossroads. The $1.5 billion proposed development is back in front of the city council.

Councilman Willie Bradford is a backer of the mixed use development plan. He's proposed a binding memorandum of understanding between the city and developers, Gateway Development Consortium.

Cross Bayou Point would include housing, government offices, a stem school -- even a soccer stadium. Gateway says it would inject economic growth into a mostly undeveloped area along the bayou that borders the north side of downtown. Those developers say this means jobs and revitalization of downtown.

But the plan has many skeptics. And to them, Bradford warned of doing nothing for economic development.

"Ten years from now we're not going to recognize this city. I can see right now. Moves coming like Baton Rouge, St. George, we want to dis-annex," the District A Democrat said. "We want to dis-annex Southern Loop. I can see it coming. I can see it coming right now. And we're going to leave these poor black folks in the inner city of Shreveport to fend for themselves."

Among the skeptics beyond the council is political watchdog John Settle. The former attorney has thrown a possible legal wrench into the plans. He's filed for a temporary restraining order against the City of Shreveport to stop approval of that binding memorandum with the developers.

That's because developers want the city to put together nearly 90 acres of land for them. That includes real estate that's not along the bayou, such as the old, boarded-up federal building on Fannin. They also want nearby parcels along McNeil and Caddo.

Developers want the city to use nearly $3 million dollars in unspent bond money to buy those properties. Back in 1996, there was a plan to develop a park and greenspace along the bayou that never happened.

Settle wants a judge to decide if that unspent bond money can be used to buy properties that are not along the bayou.

The spokeswoman for Gateway, Donnette Dunbar, gave a written statement in response to the suit, saying in part, "We are confident we can negotiate an agreement with the City of Shreveport that does not violate the city charter or state law."

The council would vote on Bradford's proposed agreement at its next agenda session on January 28.


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