Today in the Shreveport Times, Bill Weiner, a retired architect and urban planner as well as long-time Shreveport resident, re-introduced a proposal for a linear park and waterway creation that would deal with flood waters while increasing our parks and recreation opportunities. Here's an excerpt:
"Upstream from the lake, along the bayou before it drains into Wallace Lake, there would be a series of smaller new lakes (retention ponds) to hold the flood waters before they emptied into Wallace Lake proper. This series of ponds would be connected, flowing from one to another. Surrounding these new lakes would be a new wooded linear state park with paths from one pond to another for walking, biking, and family picnicking.
"The park could be used educationally as a nature study area, recreationally for fishing or canoeing, and for other appropriate activities. Access to this linear park could be from several points and it should connect with other trails. It was envisioned that this would have been a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's flood control project with the park to be locally maintained and managed. By retaining runoff in these new ponds, the load in Bayou Pierre would be reduced to its existing carrying capacity, without the need to widen and channelize it.
"The presently proposed widening and channelizing of Bayou Pierre would destroy our unique scenery, wildlife habitat, and special history, that all define us. This desecration is unnecessary as there are better solutions to satisfy the flow without destroying the unique values of our historic Bayou Pierre."
Mr. Weiner goes on to note the possibilities for funding such a project using Haynesville Shale opportunities, as well as other sources. Regardless of how such a project gets funded,
ABetterShreveport was founded on the premise that we should use research on what works in other cities to improve our own city. One consistent set of findings is that the more green space and parks per acre there are in any city, the higher is the quality of life, property values, and economic growth.
And to think some of us can remember fishing and swimming in what are now concreted drainage ditches! So, is it time to redesign? Well, why not?