Wednesday, July 29, 2009 meeting last Tuesday on Coates Bluff Greenway, property issues, and more...

We had another good meeting this past Tuesday. Attending were Mark Goadrich, Ford Bevens, Jon Soul, Loren Demerath, Ian Webb, Barbara Jerrell, April Dahm, and Feico Kempff.

We talked mainly about the Coates Bluff Greenway:
  • Property issues
  • Possible routes
  • Potential partners
We also discussed facebook uses for ABetterShreveport, the remarkable growth of the group (over 700 members in four days!), the downtown group's upcoming meeting, and non-profit formation issues.


Jon talked to us about the progress he and his team have made on the Coates Bluff Greenway. We discussed property ownership issues, and April and Feico volunteered to use their oil and gas property research expertise to find out the details. Ian referred us to an e-mail exchange between he and Michael Carmody on the history of relevant legal decisions and forwarded the email to some of us. There should apparently be information in the city attourney's office that should help clarify the issue.

We discussed our non-profit status, and received a donation from one of our members present that would pay for our filing fee to the Secretary of State of Louisiana.

April noted that we need to have a meeting devoted to strategic planning, including polishing our mission statement and bylaws.

We discussed the kind of organization we are, and noted that we have no interest in fighting case-by-case disputes with the zoning appeals board, for example, but would be interested in facilitating people's ability to fight those disputes, such as pointing someone to the best means of making their case heard.

Loren reported on his and Robert Trudeau's exploration [SEE POST BELOW] of the greenway's terrain, including the forest density, the hilliness, the bayous, etc. They discussed the possibility of having a branch of the greenway go along the border of Swepco park that would be easy to construct and make the forest open to the park. Jon noted that the main trail, though, should provide a sense of being surrounded by forest, and should maximize one's contact with nature. We all agreed that as well as being an efficient means of transportation the trail should preserving the history and natural character of the area. We also agreed that we needn't be specific about the route at this point, but merely identifying the corridor that could be used for the benefit of the city is enough to get the partners involved to help it be constructed out of what has been unused for decades.

Feico talked about his research on the Coates Bluff cemetary, and how there is a state law that says how to preserve old cemeteries; a type of archeological ordinance. Feico interviewed the owners of the cemetaries with Dale Jennings, a local historian.

The group also talked about the need to eventually deal with the transition from coates bluff greenway to the rest of the Shreveport world. We talked about how difficult it can be for bikers to cross Youree at Washington or Stoner, one of us having done so recently with his family. It was noted that there are intelligent traffic control systems in existance for bikers and pedestrians, and do exist in some places in Shreveport. It was noted that some types are not effective, such as the flashing red light in front of the splash fountain on the Parkway that most of us didn't know existed because we hadn't noticed it. Mark noted that it was very difficult to walk around the 70th and Youree area, but which should be a biking destination. Ian noted that he'd do it alone, but not with his son, which is a good indication of an area that people would perceive as unsafe to bike or walk.

We discussed briefly the need to find a new meeting time once school starts, as some of us won't be able to continue Tuesday mornings. The first and third Monday or Tuesday nights of each month from 7 to 8 was nominated as a time. (Suggestions are welcome!)

When Jon talked with residents before the cleanup, many said they'd like same treatment of their bayou that the folks along E. Kings receive. Jon has put a trash can by the fishing spot and it looks as if it is getting some use, but at first was ignored. We agreed that we wanted to involve the residents and users of the area in planning the greenway.

One potential partner mentioned was the Native Plant Society, and to improve the land there we could work to getting the bamboo and kudzu out; when we get to the point where we're moving forward with improvements, the Red River Wildlife Refuge is a potential partner, and we could contact Ed Leuck; a botany professor at Centenary, and he can identify what's a major native tree and what has impact.

Jon asked Feico if he'd head up the next meeting about this as school is about to start for Jon and he's getting overloaded, and since we're waiting for property research by April and Feico, and Feico said he would. Feico will also be setting up a meeting with David Alexander. It was noted that other others, such as Link Coleman, who owns the Willows apartments, might follow suit in supporting the greenway and offering to link to it from their property. Their problems concern cost and liability; but donate the land to a trust can relieve them of that responsibility.

It was noted that the kind of nature trails in Walter B. Jacobs park could be a model for what the Coates Bluff nature trail would look like. The name of Coates Bluff Greenway was discussed and more various reasons was thought to be the best of the alternatives mentioned.

April announced the meeting next Wednesday with the Goody Clancy local person on the planning process from 11:30 to 12:30 downtown at ArtSpace. April said the downtown group will begin meeting weekly and they will be settling on the time and place soon. The link to register for the August 22nd meeting is

Jon refered us to two sites: can be used to find the best routes by surface, etc., and www.1world2wheels offers support on planning for bikability.

Though the Downtown Group will meet next Wednesday, the next meeting for the general group will be August 11th. We're making exciting progress on both the greenway and the bike routes plan! Onward and upward!

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