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I just got back from driving cross country on a girls' trip and I hate to say it, but Shreveport-Bossier wasn't looking too good in comparison to the areas we visited. Sure, things look better when they're shiny and new and exciting, but when one of my friends mentioned that, 'Shreveport-Bossier sure makes it easy to leave,' I got to thinking. What can Shreveport/Bossier do to be a better place to live and raise a family? Here are a couple of ideas I came up with.

1. Improve the roads. It's true, our roads are truly awful. I don't know if it's because misappropriated funding, bad upkeep, etc... but our roads really do stink in comparison to other parts of the country.

2. Pick up the trash. In Colorado, community groups, businesses, individuals, etc... voluntarily pick up roadside trash. It's amazing what a little pride in your community can do for the complexion of an area. Make sure trash cans are available and emptied regularly.

3. Turn on the lights. Have you noticed that at least half of our street lights, even along the interstate, are generally out at any given time? That's not safe and it's unacceptable.

4. Property standards. Why do we allow folks to leave their yards trashed and nasty? It doesn't cost a dime to pick up and clean up around your home. If you don't have pride in your home, what do you have pride in?!?!? Other cities would not allow what happened to Fairgrounds Field to happen on their watch and they certainly wouldn't leave rubble like we see at the old Don's Seafood there for months on end.

5. General upkeep. Have you seen the knee-high grass along most of our roadways with weeds everywhere? Let's take care of that and clean up our parks and greenspaces. A coat of paint will do wonders. How about planting some flowers?

6. Crime. Our area is considered quite dangerous to live in, even though authorities say our crime numbers are actually down, It doesn't matter. If the perception is that you aren't safe, you aren't.

7. Parks and green spaces. We have tons of parks, but we don't keep them up, so people don't always use them. They would actually show up if did something to improve and beautify them. You're not going to go play in your community if you're not proud of it. Look at the new park in Bossier. People are coming out in droves. Fix up the others, people will use them, too.

We have the bones, now we need to build on them to make Shreveport-Bossier City not only a great place to live, but to visit. We have so many good things here and some of the best people in the world, but we won't improve things here until we start taking pride in our city. I'm sure there are other things we can do and to some planting flowers is silly, but I promise you, it's not. Think about it!