Sunday, March 14, 2010

Planning for Bayou Cleanup and Celebration at Last Week's ABetterShreveport Greenways Meeting

Great meeting last week. Kudos to Jon Soul for organizing and administering an effective agenda! Here are the notes:

In attendance at last week's ABS Greenways meeting: Matthew Linn, Jon Soul, Will Smith, Cynthia Keith, Feico Kempff, Loren Demerath, and Carolyn Manning.

Matthew Linn began the meeting by volunteering to provide coffee.

Cynthia described the conversation that began with the question answer period following the CAG broadcast with Rozeman and Aubry; one person recalled the old veteran's park up above the frisbee golf course area where the pond is and stage was; this new revival of that area could be looking down on the dog park that could be dedicated to veterans and veteran animals (animals have "served") and where vets and others could sit and relax while watching animals play--one of the most enjoyable past times.

Cynthia said she'd like to go up with a group of ABetterShreveport folks and have a picnic and outdoor meeting; to be at the site and imagine what could be. The group expressed enthusiasm for that idea, noting that it's really hard to see what a site can be unless you're there. The group discussed the past of the Veteran's Park (Joan Jett, B.B. King, etc.)

Jon circulated the agenda for the meeting, which included the vision, strategy, and action plan for the Coates Bluff Greenway and Anderson Bayou (formerly known as Sykes Bayou). The action plan included the cleanup.

The vision -- we imagine it to be a... . The principles could be to facilitate a healthy & connected community, stewardship of natural & historical heritage, place-based education.

Strategy to pursue --e.g.,actively support presence in S’port/Caddo 2030 Master Plan (Chapter 6 in the Master Plan is Green Systems, and green networks is throughout it), determine funding sources, explore planning partnerships...

establish & improve existing trails

community outreach & education

Jon often takes children down the trail and stops at a certain point and points to the flags extending to the north and asks them if any of them have a sibling and always one or two or more will say they do; he'll mention how the trail could eventually extend that far. Will and Jon said they'd seen wildlife including foxes and owls in the area.

Among the "To Do's":

identify sensitive areas (yellow dots);

Jon said the trail that goes along the Shreveport side (vs. the western "Bossier Parish" side) is more sensitive with water and erosion possibilities and should be a lower trafficked foot path. If we're considering doing more trail work, establishing a trail on the Bossier side... that's private land

The Shreveport side is on a slope, easily eroded, and is very wet and would require things like boardwalks or someting to route over lower floodable areas.

Jon reviewed the sensitive areas where there is water, flooding, and particular wildlife sites, such as the beaver lodge.

Jon also reviewed the areas that have a lot of trash, such as "Tin Can Crossing" or the section along the ridge of Galloway where there are no houses just to the north of the Montessori School. Jon wants to knock that out and make it clean before it sets a standard of a dumpable area (cited the Broken Windows phenomenon).

trash removal (orange dots)

Jon reviewed the tools and support we would need:

wheelbarrows, gloves, black containers

Jon would contact the city for a trailer; Andy Goldthwaite will contact Hughes Recycling; Someone would also contact BCOS and contact SPAR about the gate into Valencia park.

Will mentioned the history he had researched and said it was the Heart Ferry Road that went into the steam boat port between the Coates Bluffs knolls.

We will have an educational table and field guides and interpretters; Sarah Savage will work on making signs to post (simply; e.g. cardboard); Ed and Beth Leuch said they'd be willing to walk the trail and tell people about the flora and fauna in the area;

We have a name: "The Coates Bluff Cleanup and Celebration", March 27, 9AM - 12PM.
The flyer & more details will be forthcoming but basically --
cleanup & coates bluff education at Valencia park
picnic shelter for "base" and information
rec center for bathrooms/ water and bananas
use big double-gate for access to trail and "tin can alley"
cleanup, nature walk, greenway education, and food at MSS
tents/tables for "base" and info
MSS for bathroom/ hot dogs at 11:30

Next Greenways meeting will be in two weeks on Monday the 22nd, mainly to be used to further prepare for the cleanup.

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