Bossier City Councilman Irwin ‘Disappointed’ With Lack of East Bank Activity

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Bossier City Councilman Irwin 'Disappointed' With Lack of East Bank Activity

Bossier City councilman Scott Irwin said he is “disappointed at what I’m seeing” with the entertainment choices currently available in the East Bank District.

The City of Bossier City spent $15 million to redevelop a portion of the downtown area to revitalize the center of the city.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Jeremy Hefner with the Bossier Arts Council, gave an East Bank District update to council members. The BAC manages the contracts for East Bank events. Hefner said there were “a little over 20 events” in the Plaza during the third quarter of 2019, with attendance ranging from 100 to 500 at each event.

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That’s when Irwin expressed his disappointment.

“I’m disappointed at what I ‘m seeing here,” he stated flatly. Irwin said he wanted to see “life down there” on a regular basis, including “music in that square on Friday and Saturday nights.”

Irwin said that the City’s street performance ordinance, which allows an entertainer to pay a $55 permit to perform without insurance or security stipulations, needed to be promoted more, to lure talent to the EBD and “have a nice ambiance” in the area.

Councilman Tommy Harvey suggested East Bank business owners might even pay the price of the permit to have musicians perform outside their establishments.

In other matters, the Council:

  • Gave final approval to an ordinance appropriating $150,000 to complete the acquisition and construction of the Walmart/Kroger connection project.
  • Adopted an ordinance appropriating $280,000 to perform a pilot study to determine if nanofiltration can eliminate enough organics from Bossier City water to use free chlorine in lieu of chloramines.

On the reading of bids for the Tinsley Park concessions and restroom construction project, all bids submitted were over budget and councilman David Montgomery said, “You know we talked about this.”

“What do you think?” Irwin asked.

Turning to city attorney Jimmy Hall, Montgomery explained:

“What we had discussed was, the fact that on these projects — especially parks and recreation — if they start coming in over budget, we’re going to have a deficit. The money’s not going to be there.”

After a brief deliberation, the council decided to accept the reading of the bids so that there could be a further review of the bids for possible adjustment.

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2 thoughts on “Bossier City Councilman Irwin ‘Disappointed’ With Lack of East Bank Activity”

  1. Why should people have to pay a $55 tax…and that’s what it is.. to perform? Small businesses get buried in permits and fees. It’s hard enough to be in business without beuricratic interference and being taxed to death. If you want to see growth, Quit killing us with these taxes.

  2. If 20 events gathering between 100 to 500 people each across the span of just 12 weekends – 80% of which featured live music – is “disappointing,” I think it may be time for a vocabulary pop quiz.

    As a patron and attendee of most of these events, I regret that I didn’t run into Councilman Irwin during one of those 20 events to ensure he and I were both in the same location. Surely he must have been present for these events to have such a searing opinion based on his perception of their lack of attendance and success.

    To the point of more street performers, as a singer and performer myself, I wouldn’t pay $55 to sing on the corner and not be able to keep my guitar case open beside me to catch the goodwill and financial support of passersby enjoying the music. I don’t work for free. I presume city council members don’t either. Why then should we expect an artist to pay to enhance the EBD’s “ambiance” without fair compensation?

    Let me be clear, with a staff of four people, the Bossier Arts Council – BAC works hard and tirelessly for Bossier City managing and often offering quality programming for all our citizens in a beautiful, safe, and inviting environment while at the same time providing grants to local creative initiatives, providing gallery space for the artwork of Bossier’s students and the artists of the entire SBC community, maintaining two thriving exhibition galleries that stay booked nearly two years in advance, and planning/executing/supporting our area’s only Digital Expo to expose our school children to technologies and sciences they can pursue and then stay here in the SBC to support the economy of the town that raised them.

    By the way, DigiFest has been going strong in Bossier for nine years straight, is completely free to every single attending student, and even provides reimbursement for buses to get them there and substitutes to fill the teacher vacancy during the field trip.

    With the exception of our fundraising events, almost all of the BAC’s programs and events are free, open to the public, and well-attended, which anyone who’s been to one could easily affirm. The EBD has been a breath of fresh air in the social life of Bossier City and across the bridge in Shreveport. It continues to grow and improve – and improvements can always be made, but I came here to stand up for the BAC and the EBD and acknowledge the good work and successful efforts of a handful of people to bring the kind of life, vibrancy, and strong economic impact to its locale that is worth the investment.

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