Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shreveport historical buildings bulldozed for parking lots.

Shreveport's skyline attracts visitors and big time movie business, but what you see could slowly disappear. People are bulldozing historical buildings downtown, one after the other. No law protects these treasures from the past. Nbc 6 news reporter Karen Hopkins discovered a group is fighting back to preserve Shreveport history.

You may remember the old Nanking building. It was about 100 years old. Now it’s gone. A parking lot has replaced it. About a dozen old buildings have been torn down in recent years. These two structures on Milam Street across from the courthouse could go next. The facades people gaze at from the Robinson film center---also at risk of demolition. “I hate to go downtown and see block after block where there was once six buildings and now there are two. The thing to remember is you cannot rebuild history," Neil Johnson of Shreveport Historic Preservation society.

History is not always protected by law in Shreveport. Owners have the right to demolish their property.
Many can't afford to renovate and putting in a parking lot is profitable. “Many people don't come downtown, and don't notice we've got a brand new vacant lot here. A parking lot. "21:35 i just see shreveport's heritage disappearing," Conway Link, Vice President of Shreveport Historic Preservation Society says.

“One of the reasons the film and production business is so prominent in Shreveport these days is because we have this inventory of interesting looking buildings that make good sets,” Don Shea, Executive Director Downtown Development Authority says.

“I saw my downtown deteriorating and wanted to do something about it," Sarah Wilkerson President of Shreveport Historic Preservation Society says.

People are taking action. The historic district committee will start a commission to watch over Shreveport’s treasured buildings. The plan will add tax incentives for people to invest and establish a law to delay demolitions.

“A whole line of buildings that each has a 100 years in this town gives that whole block a spirit,” Johnson says.

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