Monday, January 26, 2009

Summary of last meeting...

Wanted to get this out before our next meeting, so here's a summary of what we talked about last time:

- The desire to establish groups that work on particular issues that may overlap with one another, but also have specific goals distinct from one another.
- The main groups or subcommittees thus far, with their de-facto leaders, would be as follows:
- Greenways Group led by Ian Webb
- Downtown Revitalization Group led by April Dahm and David Nelson
- Shreveport Community Gardening led by Jon Soul and Leia Lewis
- The idea that we have a Neighborhood Preservation group was floated as well, but there was some disagreement as to its mission and untility.
- A Civic Organization Networking group may have been suggested in its place.

- The need to begin a pilot project and get an immediate success on the ground that can demonstrate how a greenway would work.
- Bayou Pierre was discussed as the optimal site since it goes by through neighborhoods group members are most familiar with, where there may be the most likely users, we already know land-owners along the route, including Centenary College, with whom we have ties, and it goes by several other schools, including Montessori and Magnet High, where a number of group members have children who are students.
- Phases to the project might be:
1 - get permission from property owners to mow a path alongside the ditch
2 - wear it down to dirt with use
3 - cover with fine gravel (coarse is bad for bikes) to maintain it.

(It was mentioned that there used to be bridges crossing the bayou on the stretch between Alexander and Kings. It was also noted that Shreveport has gone through periods of conscious segregation by race and class, and removing the bridges may have been part of that.)

- Fund raising possibilities were discussed; many people and organizations would be willing to become "Friends of Shreveport Greenways," by making donations.
- The above is another reason why a separate non-profit may need to be set up whose mission is solely to promote greenways in Shreveport.
- A second reason for a separate non-profit may be insurance issues for events the group may want to organize that would promote greenways.
- A third reason may be to separate fundraising requests on behalf of greenways from those made on behalf of Centenary College.
- If ABetterShreveport is an "incubator" of civic organizations working in the public interest, it may be an appropriate and standard part of the process that separate non-profit organizations emerge from it, and its partner, the Center for Civic Engagement.

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