Settle: Cross Bayou development raises more questions

The recent announcement of new possible development on Cross Bayou has raised more questions than answers.

In a presentation to the Shreveport Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Paul Pratt pitched a $1 billion, 10-year public/private, mixed-use development on Cross Bayou.

“LCI"

The information released by a public relations firm for the Pratt development group was long on hype and short on details.

A short list of inquiries include the following.

1. Pratt is an executive with Chesapeake Energy. What role does Chesapeake have in the project, if any?

2. What roles do Theron Jackson and Curtis Joseph have, and how does this affect their positions on the Shreveport Caddo Metropolitan Planning Commission?

3. What is the planned “municipal complex with 1,000 to 2,000 employees”?

4. Has the Pelicans G-League team abandoned its plans to locate in Florida?

5. In DDA presentation Pratt did not mention the Pelicans—so it this a new development?

6. How much money is expected from the City for the project?

7. How much money is expected from the Parish for the project?

8. What other participation is expected from the City and the Parish?

9. Who will operate the charter school and does it expect local or state funding?

10. Will the City attempt to gain approval of any participation from the Council as before with the failed sports complex or allow Shreveport voters to approve?

11. Cross Bayou flooded last year. What remediation will be necessary to prevent future flooding and what regulatory approvals will be needed?

12. What is expected from the state of Louisiana? Pratt said a public private partnership needed with the state and local government.

13. Other than the DDA, what groups, government entities, etc have been briefed on this project which was NOT known to the general public until Wednesday of this week?

14. Is it a conflict of interest for Curtis Joseph to be a contract attorney for the City of Shreveport and be a part of the Cross Bayou development group ?

This proposed development will be the subject of close scrutiny in coming months. Mayor Tyler’s proposed sports complex, which failed to garner council approval, is still fresh in the mind of Shreveport citizens.

This is an election year for Tyler and the council members. Expect all those seeking to be re-elected this fall to be very careful in their consideration of spending any Shreveport public funds on this venture.

John Settle is a Shreveport-Bossier based attorney and political columnist