Does Shreveport Look Like an Abandoned City? [VIDEO]
My normal route to work changed today and what I saw on my new route made me mad, depressed, sad and embarrassed. I traveled along 3132 between Linwood and I-20. The weeds in the median and along the side of the road are so tall you can't even see the guardrails at some stretches.
It looks like a town that has no one who cares about how things look. It is my hope that is not true. I wanted to get to the bottom of this. Who is in charge of mowing and how often is it done. I pitched a little fit on the radio and then the calls and texts started coming in from people who have noticed the same problem in other parts of town.
Senator Barrow Peacock told me "the state has a contract with the city to pick up litter and mow. The state pays the city to mow."
When I heard that, I sent an email to Shreveport Public Works Director Mike Wood and I copied the Mayor, CAO Brian Crawford and the Mayor's PR specialist Africa Price.
Wood emailed me back pretty quickly: "We sprayed it Sunday. Started mowing yesterday. Had to finish I-49 first."
This still didn't satisfy me, so I threw another hissy fit on the radio and more emails and texts started coming in. Mike Wood asked me to call him. He did tell me the state pays the city $240,000 a year to mow I-49, I-20 and 3132 inside the city limits, but Wood says it actually costs $300,000 or more. He says each stretch of the highways are mowed every 14 days (weather can delay that some). He assured me 3132 was mowed prior to the Miss USA Pageant which was held on May 21st.
I also got this email from Mayor Ollie Tyler:
Please know that we do everything we possibly can do to address this type issue throughout the City. We would love to receive enough funds from the State to do the grass cutting each week on state roadways; however, with budget constraints at both State and local levels, we must supplement what we receive to get the job done.
I grabbed our Engineer and we drove out to 3132 to shoot a little video of the weeds and here's what we found:
I love Shreveport and I was so sad and actually near tears this morning to see how depressing the tall grass looks. So, I went out to the highway while we were on air to see just how bad it is in daylight. I found several patches of grass over my head. There is no way this grass was cut within the past two weeks.
We have got to solve this problem. I know it's hard to find workers who want to be out in the heat for just $12 an hour, but there has to be something we can do to simply mow the grass on a schedule that will keep our city from looking abandoned.