Bolton High students address Alexandria’s top concerns with Mayor Hall

Students over at Bolton High School had the chance today to ask Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall about the state of the city.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 8:01 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall’s September State of the Community update was presented slightly different this month as he addressed a crowd of students at Bolton High School.

The students submitted questions on a variety of topics, including economic development, crime concerns and helping low-income families find jobs.

The mayor said the trend is showing more businesses expanding towards LA-28 West with the development of Versailles Blvd., but the idea is to bring more businesses to the downtown area. Currently, the downtown Amphitheater is undergoing a large renovation project to add a bandshell. Once the project is complete, the Amphitheater is expected to host more concerts and events along the Red River to be more attractive for businesses looking to expand downtown.

Another sign of economic development that Mayor Hall described was a project currently in the works to connect Sugar House Rd. to Highway 1.

“We have the funds in the governor’s capital outlay budget,” said Mayor Hall. “19 million dollars and we have the matching funds. Engineering is going on with that right now to connect Sugar House Rd. with Highway 1. When you connect that, you just connected Highway 1 to I-49.”

Mayor Hall also said many households in the city have a median income of just $28,000. The students asked how could they break generational trends of poverty in their community.

“If you do well, your family is going to do well,” said Mayor Hall. “If we do well in Alexandria, the towns around us are going to do better. We have to keep the retail businesses that we have right now.”

As it relates to crime, the mayor told the students that safety starts with the youth. More teens are being impacted by violent crimes and gun violence taking place in their own neighborhoods. While the mayor said gun violence this year in Alexandria is down from years prior, it’s up to the youth to help continue those downward trends.

“With our crime compared to last year, we are less than 50 percent of what we were with gun violence and murder rates last year, so it’s on a decline,” said Mayor Hall. “A lot of things are still happening, and they aren’t going away, but it’s not going up. We can’t just do that by talking about it. It takes great policing, but more than anything else, it takes you all.”

City and neighborhood leaders have said giving the youth more to do in the community will help with violent crime prevention. All community centers in the city are open with most offering after-school programs or hours for open gyms.

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