A Better Shreveport hosted a forum August 5th, 2009 highlighting the process and procedure details for designing our 1st master plan since the 1950's. Heading the forum was Larissa Brown, Chief Planner at Goody and Clancy (http://www.goodyclancy.com/) and Don Shea, Executive Director of Shreveport's Downtown Development Authority(http://www.downtownshreveport.com/).
Ms. Brown walked our group of about 70 people through the process of planning, drafting, and implementing the master plan. She stressed that her firm is known for it's "community participation." By using a variety of communication tools such as public opinion surveys, visioning forums, websites, and public workshops, a commitment to public information is is highly regarded according to Ms. Brown.
A vision based process is scheduled for August 22nd at the Shreveport Conventions Center. The goal of the workshop is for Goody and Clancy to get know our community as wel as learn about what Shreveporters would like to see change and what we want to stay. What do we feel is important? What are our values and aspirations for the future? How do we see our city in 20 years? Please consider participating in this workshop. There is room for up to 800 people to participate.
Registration can be done on-line by going to http://www.shreveportcaddomasterplan.com/
You should receive an e-mail confirmation letting you know your registration has been processed. If you are having trouble please e-mail me at downtownABS@gmail.com and I will try to help.
So how does the Downtown Development Authority fit into the master plan? Downtown Shreveport and the waterfront are considered to be a special focus area according to Brown. Don Shea of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) summed it up by saying that Shreveport has one the most poorly developed waterfronts in the U.S. The DDA is looking at developing Cross Bayou and developing public access to the waterfront.
Shea also spoke of area of focus, The West Edge which which is slowly emerging as a cultural and arts community. Shreveport Regional Arts Council's Artspace is located in the West Edge section of downtown as is the Robinson Film Center. http://www.shrevearts.org/
Mr. Shea discussed increasing residential and office spaces downtown as a vital step toward revitalization. Recreation areas that may include parks, bike lanes, and activities related to the waterfront should not be overlooked. Downtown activities and attractions need continuous support in order to keep growing.
Although the DDA is focusing in the areas mentioned above they are looking for input for those who share a vision of a thriving downtown. Both Brown and Shea agree that a thriving downtown community is everyone's community, regardless of what neighborhood we live in.
To me, one of the most striking comments made was by Larissa Brown. She urged, "let's not just react to change happening to us, let's be a part of that change."
April Dahm, A Better Shreveport
See photo highlights of the forum: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyreans/sets/72157621835020589/