It doesn’t look like much now, but a month will make a big difference!

The date for completion of the Shreveport Common Park is set- and it is- drum roll, please- Monday, October 21. The official opening is just the beginning of the excitement. From November 2 until December 8, the greenspace bounded by Texas Avenue, Cotton Street and Crockett Street will be the home of a FriendsWithYou inflatable installation.

From their website, “FriendsWithYou is the fine art collaborative of Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, working collectively since 2002 with the sole purpose of spreading the positive message of Magic, Luck, and Friendship™.” One of the ways they do this is with whimsical, giant-sized balloon sculptures, similar to the balloons used at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They will be creating balloons specifically for Shreveport to display here during the month-long event.

In addition, the Shreveport Regional Arts Council will be engaged in hard-core programming of the park that will include everything from outdoor performances and exercise opportunities to art markets and  Sunday brunches. The Common Park has been a multi-year project of the City of Shreveport, Caddo Parish and numerous private donors and organizations to turn a series of vacant lots and building foundations into a needed greenspace for downtown. Ten underground tanks were discovered along the way which slowed work, but most underground work is now completed and above ground work is coming along at a rapid clip.

Artist rendering of Common Park.

The Common Park will feature an area of grass, walking trails, a so-called bioswale for groundwater retention and use, sculptural elements, water features, outdoor benches and tables, a large digital screen and more. The park will be a huge change in the landscape of the 9-block area known as Shreveport Common and in downtown as a whole. Though ample green space and recreation activities are available on the riverfront, other downtown options have been limited. This will add a much-needed amenity to those who live in, work in and enjoy downtown.