Covering Louisiana

Sep 3, 2013 12:54 PM by katc

Shreveport officials see a need for cleanup

Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover says he is ready to make the case to the City Council that more resources are needed to keep the city clean.

Glover said he wants to make trash abatement a priority in the coming months and end a period of lip service to clean streets. He told The Times of Shreveport that he'll keep that in mind as he prepares the 2014 budget.

But, Glover cautions that revenue isn't growing and the effort won't be free.

Glover and other civic leaders say the city's litter problem hurts Shreveport's image.

Shreveport Green Executive Director Donna Curtis says littered areas indicate a loss of pride and a lack of concern with obeying the law.

"Curb appeal goes a long way to communicate how we feel about the place we call home," Glover said. "We have areas that are very beautiful. But when you drive along common boulevards and main drags, like I-20 and I-49, and compare them with other nearby regions, we don't do a good enough job with the upkeep of our common areas."

Glover said he has spoken with Shreveport Police Chief Willie Shaw about prioritizing enforcement of litter laws, citing an uptick in the number of police officers on payroll as a resource. It hasn't been a primary concern in the past, and resources have been focused elsewhere.

He invoked the "broken window theory" when asked what real impact litter and a broken-down image has on the city.

That theory, popularized in New York City in the 1990s, suggests aesthetic elements such as litter, broken windows and graffiti devalue a city's image in the mind of its own residents, making them more likely to consider an area ripe for crime and further pollution.

David Rockett, an economic development official in neighboring Bossier Parish, said litter can affect business development.

"You want to put forward a good impression, especially if you're trying to get business investments in the community," said Rockett, Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation Director. "A city has to be diligent and aware that investments will rise with aesthetics."

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