Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Downtown Group discusses issues and mission statement

From April Dahm:

Our next meeting will be next Wednesday, October 7, from 11:30-12:30. We will continue to meet at Artspace in the lower level. Please bring a lunch or feel free to order lunch from the cafe.
At our last meeting, we discussed the need to gain focus and we began to work on creating our mission statement which will guide our vision as we continue our work. Here are the 4 basic principles we agreed upon:
Economic Prosperity
Environmental Sustainability
Cultural Vitality
Social Equity
Some of the key phrases and words I jotted down whole discussing our mission statement included: invigorate, lifestyle, diversity, residential, retail, 24-hour activity, technology, quality of life, safety, growth, recreation, green space, services, transportation, alternative, history, arts.
Do you think that we all could bring at least one example of a mission statement based on the 4 principles to our next meeting? Even better, could we begin emailing each other our statements prior to the meeting? Nothing you write needs to be perfect, I am simply looking to get a starting place for our next meeting so we can start at 11:30 with a bang!
If you have trouble getting started or need a better idea of how to approach this task, here are some helpful websites:
Research a familiar non-profit and their mission statement should be on their website.
I want to say thank you to all of you for such great participation in last week's meeting. All of you bring so much positive thought and energy to this organization.
Looking forward to being with you all next Wednesday!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

October 3rd, 9 a.m. walking tour of Coates Bluff Greenway site

Several interested parties will taking a walking tour of the Coates Bluff Greenway site on October 3rd at 9 a.m. Those include Jeff Girard, Northwest Regional Archaeologist for Louisiana, local historian Gary Joiner, developer David Alexander, as well as ABS members Feico Kempff, Montessori School Outdoor Educator Jon Soul, Magnet High School teacher Robert Trudeau, and others.

The purpose of the walking tour is get a feel for what the greenway can be, and given that, how we can best promote its development.

Although we don't plan to be so adventurous as to walk the actual route of the greenway, we'll walk parts of it. We'll walk the old access road along Anderson Bayou, and into the woods onto Coates Bluff to view Cemeteries. With that in mind, long pants, long sleeves, and bug repellent might be good ideas.

Anyone who'd like to join us is welcome!

Refer to this map to see the Greenway's possible route and access spurs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Open Houses announced for the Master Plan; more chances to help shape our city!

This was recently sent out by Phillip Bozeman, Co-Chair of the Citizen Advisory Group for the Master Plan:




At the citywide Visioning Forum in August and the Speak Out meetings in September, you told us what kind of place you want Shreveport to be.

A DRAFT of the 2030 Vision for the Shreveport community’s future is ready for you to tell us if we got it right! We want your feedback. This vision will set the framework for the full Master Plan.

Drop in anytime between 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm at any of the branch library locations below where you can….

• Find out more about the Master Plan

• View the results of the Master Plan visioning meetings held in August and September

• Review and comment on the Draft Vision and Statement of Principles

• Find out what’s next in the Master Plan process and how you can be involved

Can’t make any of the meetings?

Review and comment on the Draft Vision and Principles and find out more about the Master Plan online at

Tuesday, September 29



Wednesday, September 30



Thursday, October 1



Friday, September 18, 2009

Video of our sorry bicycle state

ABS member Steve Godfrey made a video of the difficulty of biking down Youree. And yes, lived to tell [show] the tale.

Steve is a professional advertising distributer by bicycle. He's at for those interested. (Not very .org of me to mention that. Ah well.)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Critical Manners," Oct. 3rd Coates Bluff tour, Podcasts and KSCL at last meeting

The following is a summary of our last meeting, on 9/14. We talked about:
  • bike trails in Iowa, Wisconsin, and elsewhere
  • "critical mass" vs. "critical manners" bike rides
  • the October 3rd tour of the Coates Bluff Greenway site
  • ideas for p.s.a.'s and interviews for KSCL
  • recorded two podcasts
In attendance: Rebecca Lehr, Zakk Owens, Maurice Loridans, the woman from Iowa, Loren Demerath, Robert Trudeau, Ryan Tew, Michael Laffey, Feico Kempff

April reported bike trails everywhere in Iowa, you see many cyclists, and can bike from Cedar Falls to Cedar Rapids; lots of people commuting, etc. Rebecca's from Milwaukee, and said you can bike to Madison without being endangered; a lot of people don't own cars there; just use public transportation and bike.

We the discussed safety. Steve said he's made his living off a bike for 14 years only once did something happen to him; though he escaped injury his bike was destroyed with a bus cut corner too closely.

Maurice said the people's arguments about biking being inherently unsafe only make sense until you recall the accidents that happen to people when they're in motor vehicles. "The roads are meat grinders; vultures love 'em."

Ryan and Maurice discussed the costs and benefits of "critical mass" rides; Maurice thinks they inflame the two camps. Police in some places have started to arrest the "corks" that block traffic. And there are incidents where cyclists surround and harrass drivers. It was noted that we appreciate southern hospitality. Steve says they're polite here, and rides on the side. Maurice said he enjoys his right to the center of the lane most of the time but invites people to pass; "they've got all those horses they've been using, let them use 'em." Steve said he and people like Maurice are among the few modeling use of the main arterial roads, but they're only a few people and could use help.

Ryan noted that we could use a campaign for increasing awareness; "critical mass" rides might be a first step. April noted it's good when it's planned and not a guerrilla move. Maurice noted that "critical manners" is the alter ego of facilitating transportation biking that happens in an organized, polite, safe way. Hallie Dozier's upcoming "Velo Dendro" is an example of that; teaching people safe riding techniques, etc. Robert asked if she had facebook page, and establishing one could help bring people, particularly recreational riders.

Turning to the Coates Bluff project, Robert said he talked with Tousant Bately about the greenway and he positive about the idea. Mr. Bately is a former Booker T. Washington principle and has been active in the city.

Loren mentioned that Saturday, October 3rd, at 9:00 a.m. is the walking tour of the Coates Bluff site with Jeff Girard, and hopefully two local historians, Eric Brock and Gary Joiner.

Tops on the to-do list for Coates Bluff is meeting with David Alexander, and getting materials for the Stacye Palmer of the National Parks Service who'll be helping to create the flier. Also helping with creating the vision could be KSCL.

Turning to downtown, it was noted that outlets such as blogging, Facebook, Youtube and KSCL radio could be used to publicize a vision of downtown and build momentum for using properties for more than speculation and tax write-offs. Video interviews could show articulate advocates of downtown there on sidewalk gesturing up at the buildings; Robert said he could shoot and edit, and April and others can speak; several people from Southern University have also been connected recently to our group and might be interested in helping.

Rebecca, Zakk, and others from KSCL could interview people who do live, or might consider living downtown, and could podcast those interviews as well as broadcast them. Michael Laughey, Faculty Advisor of KSCL, said we could submit a list of people to be interviewed with suggested topics or questions.

April Dahm mentioned that John Martin of the Peekers wrote a theme song for us, and that we might be able to use that for the theme of a program or podcast series.

Zakk then interviewed Steve and Maurice about their biking in the city, and April about downtown.

April announced that the next downtown lunch meeting will be Monday the 21st, 11:30 to 12:30 in ArtSpace on Texas St.

Our next regular evening meeting has been temporarily moved to Thursday night from 6:15 to 7:30 where we'll concentrate on public service announcements and radio/podcast/youtube programing.

If you're interested, come on!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Joint council and parrish commision meeting, KSCL programing, Operation T.B.O.N.E., and other topics discussed at 8/31 meeting
Originally uploaded by trudeau
From Loren Demerath -

First, we had a packed meeting a week ago Monday which I summarize below. Our next one will be on the 14th—we skipped a week for Labor Day. Our nomination of board members and officers have been postponed until that meeting, and our election will be a week after that, on the 21st (at least, I think that’s what we agreed to).

At the last meeting we discussed:

* city council and parish commission meeting on the master plan
* the bike routes project
* Coates Bluff Greenway
* T.B.O.N.E.

In attendance: Zakk Owens, Merwin McCrady, John Davenport, Loren Demerath, Shreveport Police Chief Whitehorn, Cheryl Jeter, Jim Holt, Ryan Tew, Maurice Loridans, April Dahm, Steve Godfrey, Rebecca Lehr, Bob Markey, David Aubry, Matthew Linn, Susan Keith, Cynthia Keith, Dan Marcalus.
COUNCIL AND COMMISSION MEETING ON MASTER PLAN: The group discussed the meeting at Government Plaza earlier that day. It was noted that some council members expressed concern about representation, but it was also noted that representation appeared to be quite diverse, and that there appears to be no consensus on the standards for judging success or failure for the vissioneering forum. Assessments seemed to be based on anecdotal evidence.

It was noted that Citizens Advisory Group is apparently taking steps to reach more people by going to high schools and facilitating dialogue about what the plan for our city should look like. It was noted that some people in particularly low income areas may not feel welcome or secure at those schools, and that churches and community organizations may also be good places for the C.A.G. to go to hold "mini-visioneering" conversations. (This was noted by Barbara Jarrell and supported by Monty Walford at the joint meeting earlier, as well).
ON THE TOPIC OF OUTREACH: Loren said he had discussed with Michael Laughy, the faculty advisor to KSCL, about doing public service spots in the spaces that appear to be available in the during Tim Fletcher's morning sports talk show. Zakk mentioned if we were to have a program we could invite people into the booth to talk if they sign a contract saying they agree to not violate FCC rules, etc.

It was also noted that during the joint council-commission master plan meeting ABetterShreveport was singled out several times as being a means of getting more people involved in the conversations surrounding the master plan. During our own meeting it was mentioned that ABetterShreveport could craft Public Service Announcements, and perhaps even produce a show to be aired on Centenary's radio station, KSCL 91, that would publicize and discuss master plan issues, as well as other issues and projects related to improving the city. It so happened that three Centenary students who are active at Centenary's radio station, KSCL, were in attendance at the meeting: Zakk Owens, Merwin McCrady, and Rebecca Lehr.

NOMINATIONS FOR BOARD MEMBERS AND OFFICERS: A number of people were mentioned as being possible board member nominees because of their consistent activity in the group: Dan Marcalus, April Dahm, Maurice Trudeau, Ian Webb, David Nelson, Robert Trudeau, Feico Kempff, Jon Soul, Ryan Tew, Stewart Greathouse, Mark Goadrich, Troy Messina, among others. Currently, Ian, Loren, and Maurice are the sole board members of the organization. It was suggested that on the 14th we nominate board members and officers.

BIKE ROUTES PROPOSAL: It was reported that Jo Rose is the lobbyist commissioned to monitor the planning on the Jimmy Davis Bridge amendments that will allow cyclists and pedestrians to pass between riverside bike paths of Shreveport and Bossier respectively, and that Kent Rogers had been contacted to talk with Ian Webb about the planning.

The overall proposal was described briefly for benefit of the new attendees. Maurice also made a suggestion to Chief Whitehorn that the police on patrol in squad cars use their public address systems atop the cars to notify bikers who are biking on the wrong side of the street that their safety will be improved biking with the traffic—not to mention, perhaps, that they are legally required to bike with the traffic, and not against it, and that they endanger other bikers when they are on the wrong side of the street.
It was mentioned how the police could help educate bikers as to safety, even by writing citations. It was also mentioned that PSA's might help. It was also noted that there is a fine production studio at Booker T. Washington high school, and students could be involved in producing the public service announcements, and would be a way of crafting community specific announcements.

COATES BLUFF GREENWAY: The greenway project was described and to-do’s were reviewed. It was mentioned that state contacts existed for south caddo parish verteran's sites; operation iraqi freedom had funding; in general we could link the project to the VA hospital, considering it will be a path that features a cemetery of with veteran’s graves. It was also noted that the fact that they are unmarked graves complicates things; that agencies could come in with federal mandate and bring things to a halt. Feico Kempff reported that he and Sharron Swanson met Friday and formed a game plan on the next steps.

THE DOWNTOWN GROUP reported it was compiling a mailing list and would soon regular meeting time. It was noted that one of the goals of the group would be to coordinate property owners and help promote a vision that would allow those owners to profit from developing downtown, and allow the rest of the city to profit from having it be developed. As it currently stands, the many vacant and underused properties may only benefit property owners for tax purposes.

OPERATION T.B.O.N.E.: Director Jim Holt and Police Chief Henry Whitehorn then described Operation T.B.O.N.E. and how the program can help the city by identifying property owners—particularly lax landlords—who are neglecting their property to the detriment of the community. The website describes the program in detail, and it was agreed at the meeting that it was good for citizens to know about the program so they can help facilitate its operation.

Director Holt pointed out that ABetterShreveport's own Dan Marcalus is an example of the kind of property owner that improve the community by rescuing buildings marked for demolition and renovating them. It was noted that the building restoration cooperative discussed by ABS might be a resource for Operation TBONE, perhaps pointing property owners to it as a resource as they attempt to bring their properties to acceptable standards.

The next ABetterShreveport meeting will be on Monday the 14th at 6:15 p.m. in Centenary Square, across the street from George's Grill, in room 206.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Announcement from Master Plan Citizen Advisory Group

To: Community Advisory Group – Great Expectations Visioning Forum, Project SB participants, Council/Commission

From: Phillip Rozeman, David Aubrey

RE: High Priority – Master Plan Speak Out! events

The Great Expectations Visioning Forum was overwhelmingly positive despite some “technical difficulties” with technology. 93% of participants rated the event as good or excellent overall – nearly 90% rated facilitators good or excellent. Out of nearly 300 submitted surveys, only 6 gave the event poor ratings.

The CAG will extend the opportunity to more people to have their voice heard in the master plan visioning process.

We will hold the events in every neighborhood high school during the week of September 14-17th. We are basing the curriculum of this event around the morning of the August 22nd event. We have contracted with the same group responsible for data entry and analysis at the August 22nd event to integrate the data and provide quick turnaround so information will be available to inform the visioning process.

The CAG taskforce for these forums has been working at a fast pace to move this initiative forward. The attachments with this email give some of the vision and particulars. A communication campaign will begin on Tuesday, September 8 after Labor Day (see attachments).

We will hold a news conference on Tuesday, September 8 at 10:00 am at Sci-Port Discovery Center and we would like as many people to come as possible. Please mark your schedule if you can attend on such short notice.

Our taskforce asks again for your help in two ways. The first is to send this email and/or attachments to your email network. The second is an S.O.S for table facilitators for the events on September 14-17th. We will need table facilitators throughout the week. Noting the schedule – if you are willing to participate in this event as a table facilitator, please reply to this email concerning days you would be willing to serve.

For those able to attend, there will be identical facilitator meeting at Sci-Port Discovery Center on Thursday, September 10 at 12 noon and 5:30 pm.


Phillip Rozeman

David Aubrey

No Meeting Today due to Labor Day Holiday

Summary of last meeting coming soon.

High Speed Rail through Shreveport?

A friend of mine forwarded me a link of a map showing the plan for a national high speed rail network going through Shreveport. I said it be wonderful and that I'll now start fantasizing about it. He said:

It would be amazing if the HSR came through Shreveport and the station was downtown (that would be a natural match for downtown redevelopment).... The ultimate hijack would be for the station to be located near CenturyTel or somewhere in south Shreveport... or some other outer reaches... or even over in Bossier...

But, you speak of fantasy... so I am going to send the link that led me to the HSR site... I cannot completely buy into the New Urbanism idea but I do like some aspects of it... If you remember the british tv series, The Prisioner, from the 60's (with reruns in the 90's) there is just something unsettling (maybe creepy) about some of these developments... i.e. - a place called Provenance... where New Urbanism has been applied to create an island in suburbia...

Anyway, here is how I got to that site... Critique of Chicago's "Glenview" development...

Thanks friend!