Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler looks ahead to 2022

BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) – After his first few months in office, Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler spoke to KSLA News 12 about how 2021 was for him and the city, as well as the waiting for 2022.

Question: Can you describe how 2021 and your first months in office went?

To respond: “I found myself a new chief of police and he is doing very well. I have a new financial advisor, Angela Williamson. I have a new CAD, and I’m putting my whole world in place right now. We’ve been here for six months, we’re starting to work together and it’s getting better. It’s been a lot of work putting things together, getting to know everyone and getting to where people are working together. It’s so much smoother now than when it started.

Q: Can you tell us about those first months, especially learning to work with the city council?

A: “When I started working here, I had three or four different jobs. I was the mayor, doing my CAD work, and our PIO was sick, and everyone still has to keep Traci Ponder in their prayers. But I was signing 150 sheets of paper a day on different documents, and it took time. Me and the city council didn’t really argue; it was just about putting different ideas together and working together.

Q: Recently it was announced that Chief of Police Shane McWilliams is retiring from the Bossier City Police Department. Can you tell us about the sequel for BCPD?

A: “I want to say I appreciate Shane McWilliams and everything he’s done here for 29 years. He’s done a lot for the city and he’s worked hard and he’s retired. We now have an interim chief and I’m looking for a chief. The police department is strong and I’m so happy to have all of our public safety officers in the city. The fire department is great. (Fire) Chief Brad Zagone has his group of people and they are really good Chris [Estess] heads the police department. All our police and firefighters are doing very well.

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Q: Has Alternate Chief Chris Estess expressed interest in filling this role on a permanent basis?

A: “He will pass the test. I know it will pass and we will see how it goes from there.

Q: Tomorrow (Tuesday, January 11) there will be a special meeting to discuss SporTran’s potential expansion into South Bossier. Can you talk about updates? Did you speak with SporTran before this meeting?

A: “No ma’am; and to tell you the truth, I only spoke to him [SporTran CEO Dinero Washington] about 30 minutes the first time I met him. That’s all we talked about, nothing earlier or anything like that. Tomorrow is going to be a workshop, but I haven’t spoken to him since.

RELATED VIDEO>>> Does SporTran expand into South Bossier City or not?

Q: Speaking to City Council President Don Williams, he says after speaking to residents south of Bossier, it’s [SporTran] not something they need or want there. Have you heard the same sentiment from the people of southern Bossier?

A: “Basically, yes ma’am, me too. There really aren’t many people taking the bus anymore. Even our city attorney took the bus the other day, and he says there were only two other people on the bus during his 1.5 hour ride.

Q: How do you see the future of SporTran at Bossier City?

A: “I guess we have to sit down and talk to the board members and find out what direction we want to go. We have to do what is best for Bossier City. That’s a lot of money we pay for a few people to ride.

Q: Regarding economic development, several residents have expressed their desire to see things happen in the northern and southern parts of the city. Can you discuss any plans that may be underway this year?

A: “The [Walter O. Bigby] The causeway is going to help make going north and south much easier to navigate. We will soon be working on the bridge. It’s not going to happen this year, but it will help north and south Bossier. We have plenty to do on the East Bank. There are some things that I can’t talk about right now, but will open up there. I want to talk about BeauxJax there. They have done a very good job, expanded and are the heart and soul of the East Bank. Everyone there is great and does a great job. Down in the south of Bossier, there will be several restaurants being built there this year. I know for a fact that it will happen, and it will be launched very soon. Hopefully more ideas will happen around Brookshire’s. Brad with Brookshire’s and all they’ve done for the town, opening a store up north and Brookshire’s Grocery Arena for which he supplies stuff. He has also done very well with all the different shows and volleyball that will be recurring at the Grocery Arena in Brookshire. North Bossier is growing and there are so many things going in that direction that we need more homes. There are another 500 houses that we have built in the south of Bossier. I don’t really classify it as north or south; everything is Bossier City to me.

Q: So this year, we can expect announcements for the east bank as for Bossier south?

A: “Yes. They’ve already announced that the Red River Brewery is going to come down to the East Bank, but there are other things we’re looking at now about how to use the property we have as best we can.

Q: Are there any other big projects you are looking forward to this year?

A: “The LTRI (Louisiana Tech Research Institute) opens in May, I believe. Louisiana Downs has a new owner. Kevin Preston is investing a lot of money there and is going to make it similar to Hot Springs. A lot of things are going to happen there. The grand opening of Tinsley Baseball Park will take place on January 29. It will be over and we will be ready for all the teams to come and play in February. A lot of travel balls will come for this. Not only that, I want a travel ball with lots of different sports, like soccer and pickleball.

Q: What is the latest version of DiamondJacks?

A: “I hope it will open. They are working on it now. I would like to see it open again. I wish we could use that and get some money out of it and get it going again. They are working to try to get it working again.

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Q: What do you want Bossier City residents to know by 2022?

A: “In 2022, Bossier City should feel safer. We are also working to clean up these streets. I know it doesn’t look like we’re cleaning them up, but hopefully people will be more considerate with their trash and not throw things out of their cars and trucks. But we are working on it. We have a new street sweeper coming. Rich wash [director of Bossier City Public Works] has been doing a great job since he’s been on board this department. We are slowly but surely cleaning up the streets. I-20, the offer was rejected, but we started cleaning up I-20 at some point. Hopefully we can get back to that and the offers will come back on that. I also want to clean 220. I want everyone to be proud of the city and the streets and the cleanliness of the city. I also want to brag about the city council. They have given all employees a 2% raise, which will begin this month. Drew Brees’ Surge Entertainment Center will be opening very soon here at the Bossier Mall. When it opens, it will breathe new life into Bossier Mall.

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