Home is a place very special to most people. It is where they feel safe and secure. It is a place where they can thrive and be themselves. For the people of Allendale, a neighborhood in Shreveport, Louisiana, a secure home can sometimes feel out of reach. For years, they have faced the threat of the I-49 connector destroying their neighborhood. Now that we know the connector cannot be built for another three years, that threat still looms in their distant future. We must invest in the people of Allendale and give them peace of mind that their home is safe from destruction.
We know that there are few people that would benefit from the I-49 connector. Not only would building it destroy this neighborhood with a rich history, but it would also saddle taxpayers with a huge maintenance bill. The project has only shown negative consequences that would completely outweigh any positives it would bring. We must pivot to figuring out how we can invest and protect Allendale while the I-49 project is left in limbo.
Local business owners and leaders should want what is best for the community. When the community thrives, so do local businesses. The creation of the I-49 connector would not help boost the economy, instead, it would add to the state’s deficit forcing taxpayers to foot the bill. There is currently a $15 billion backlog of unfunded highway maintenance projects and a $15 billion backlog of unfunded highway mega-projects. That is a deficit of $30 billion. This does not include state debt service obligations of future revenues that are used to build new projects. Investing in Allendale would not accrue this much debt, and in turn, it would help boost the downtown Shreveport economy.
Allendale Strong is Leading the Way
Despite the challenges that this neighborhood has faced, it has remained resilient. People like Rosie Chaffold are taking a stand for the place they call home. They are investing their time in Allendale because they know it is a place worth saving. With its rich history and hardworking community members, Allendale needs support from everyone in Shreveport to keep it from being destroyed by the I-49 connector.
The community members are doing their part to save Allendale. Organizations like Allendale Strong are leading the way with three initiatives. They have founded a Corner Store Food Co-op to invest in the needs of their community. Also, SWEPCO Park Improvements and fundraisers have helped enhance the neighborhood adding value and quality of life investments for the residents. The Business Boulevard initiative shows that growing and empowering the people of Allendale in their capacity to lead is an impactful investment. All of these initiatives are growing and gaining traction, but the people of Allendale need your support to make it happen.
What Can You Do to Invest in the People of Allendale?
Now is the perfect time to prioritize and invest in the people of Allendale over the wants of businesses, because Shreveport is only as strong as its weakest neighborhood, and we’ve learned how harmful and racist inner city interstates have been since they were first built.
Let’s band together and do what is right for the people of Allendale. You can help by following organizations like Allendale Strong and supporting their mission. Check out their website and continue to educate yourself on this issue. You can donate to their organization to help fund legal aid for the neighborhood. Lastly, you can let local politicians know that building the I-49 connector through Allendale is unacceptable. Tell them that now is the time to invest in the people of Allendale because we will not give up on saving this neighborhood.
Follow the Allendale Facebook page here for more updates and information on how you can help!