Friday, February 25, 2011

Veterans Park Area Trails Discussed at Last Meeting

In attendance: Brain Salvatore, Robert Trudeau, Steph Pedro, Cynthia Keith, Susan Keith, Loren Demerath

The group discussed Steph Pedro’s meeting with SPAR. Pedro was excited about the prospect for a new skate park and the prospects that MTV will film a skateboarding event there. However, she emphasized that SPAR should be leveraging development efforts like this, not simply shifting attention from one development idea to another. Our SPAR officials need to think bigger. Brian added that he believes that an MTV event would also give the city the opportunity to showcase its music heritage.

With the bond issue vote just 45 days away, Salvatore wondered why the City has not yet started a public campaign to inform the voters about why this bond issue is so important. The only substantial thing we have seen so far was the video produced by Liz Swaine, and Swaine doesn't even work for the City. It was asked: what are our city leaders doing?

On a positive note, kudos were expressed to Pedro for pointing out the census challenge. City officials are on our email list, and we have heard that they read her email to the group and are acting on her recommendation.


It was noted that there seems to be a belief that the park has to be 10 acres if it going to be the only one in the city, and so must be located on the outskirts at Hamel’s Memorial Park. However, that could be one of three parks, one being by the skate park, and another being at Betty Virginia. It was also noted that the dog park needs to be positioned in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with the bike path.


Demerath recently walked the trails at the Stoner Boat Launch and noted their beauty, but also how they are not publicized as a recreational resource for the city. In subsequent conversations he learned that the city may be nervous about liability. It was noted that there should be ways of dealing with the “dangers” of public greenspaces without ignoring or even eliminating the spaces altogether. The city once tore down a beautiful outdoor amphitheater at Veterans Park, apparently because of a crime that occurred there.

Trails, parks, and forests are recreational resources for a community. If we were to neglect them or see them as bad because crimes and accidents occasionally happen there, every great park in the U.S. would disappear, from Central Park to Yellowstone Park. The Stoner boat launch trails should be publicized and maximized as a community resource. Surely, it was thought, there are ways to do that, and to get around the liability issue.


The Community Foundation is continuing its sponsoring of the Aspen Institute film and panel events. This Thursday at 5:00 it will focus on the “new economy” and discuss Richard Florida’s book, “The Great Reset”

Education is ABetterShreveport’s theme next week on the 28th, both for the meeting at 6 and the radio show at 5 on 91.3. Scott Hughes, Theron Jackson, and Frederic Washington will be guests, and ABS member Brian Salvatore will be a guest cohost. There should be lots of good ideas to discuss that day on this important issue for our city.

March 7th will be partly devoted to Coates Bluff planning and an update; the Coates Bluff trail between Montessori and Valencia Park was recently walked on a beautiful day by Trudeau, and he happened to meet Murray Lloyd, one of the early members and cofounders of ABS; he said he loves the trail and is available to help with it.

Barkus and Meaux will be on held Sunday at 1:30, with the parade of pets at 3:30, at the Riverview amphitheater by the roses.

The bumper sticker discussion was tabled.

The next meeting, on the 28th, will focus on ideas for improving education.

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