Monday, April 25, 2011

Red River District, Planning, and Greenway Discussed at Last Meeting

In attendance: Feico Kempff, Maurice Loridans, Robert Hattan, David Young, Carolyn Manning, Cynthia Keith, Steph Pedro, Loren Demerath


The group discussed the Red River District and it was noted that professional realtors who are experienced showing properties should do the showings. Carolyn, a realtor, said she would be interested in doing that. Loren recollected from a previous committee meeting that they would be hiring a property manager. It was asked it they have a plan, and noted that the property manager won't be setting the goals for the property and its use. It was mentioned that a planner is needed to do those things.

Again, people commented that it seems as if most folks don't know what a planner does. An example of what a planner can do would be the San Antonio Riverwalk, or downtown revitalizations in Oklahoma City, Hot Springs Arkansas, Boston's Quincy Market, Cincinatti's Rhine, or Fort Collins Colorado, just to name a few. It's not just about the physical features but how people are going to interact in the space, how traffic will be funnelled into the space, including bikes and pedestrians besides automobiles. Places like Kings Highway, Youree Drive, or the recent Fern Avenue extention were obviously not planned, and Shreveport's suffers as result. Planning enhances not only quality of life, but the city's capacity to attract an educated work force and economic investment.

(In a caption for the photo below, for example, the Project for Public Spaces asks what "would happen if sustainable development were shaped around comfortable places for people?")

Overall, it was noted that the Red River District Committee should approve ideas that planners come up with. Mike McSwain is a professional architect on the Committee and would know about the value of hiring a planner. Loren noted that the Red River District Committee has emphasized the need for mixed use and local culture in the area.


There was some confusion over a grant application suggested by SPAR where Centenary would be the lead applicant for greenway funds. Shelly Ragle wrote a resolution for the city council. The grant is for $100,000, but the need is for a match of $75,000. Phase 1 would the Alexander to Kings path, and Phase 2 would be a bridge over/under Kings Highway. Connecting Woodlawn to the trail would be a useful part of the project too. The Knights of Columbus could conceivably contribute some property; one of the benefits for Centenary could be connecting it's campus with with Querbes golf course and the Broadmoor area between Youree and Fern.

Walking the drainage ditch area between Kings and Alexander behind Centenary's ball fields one can see how easily it could be converted into a bioswale with a bike path, making a "linear park".

(In this image shows the design of one type of bioswale that filters storm water and can improve flood control.)

But it is unlikely the implementation grant could be submitted by the early May deadline. Centenary's Board of Trustees would have to approve granting an easement. Some of the money that would be used would be from unallocated general allocation monies from a previous bond.


Carolyn reported on Sustainapalooza. It wasn't in the main lobby of SciPort this year where it was free. Instead it was a paid entrance event $13 per person and some people left without going in. The powerpoint Carolyn made is terrific and we'll be posting it on our organization's main page of All appreciated the work of Carlolyn Manning, Steph Pedro, Cynthia Keith, Garrett Johnson, and Robert Trudeau in staffing the table that afternoon.


Carolyn also reported on the radio show that evening where three community gardeners were guests. Notably, Centenary is starting a living-learning program focused on sustainability and a community garden is part of it on Oak and E. Rutherford behind Lee's Kung Fu. The whole Highland area is part of a food desert. It was noted that it would be optimal if eventually people could buy their food from local gardens and urban farms.


The outcomes of the meeting Saturday were discussed (and is described more fully in an earlier post by Loren). The biggest interest in the different subgroups that formed seemed to be in education and changing the culture here about the benefits of such trails. Attendants were struck by the diversity of people who enthusiastically supported the trail's preservation and increasing its access. One example was man named Eric who works in hotels. (His wife happens to work for a food bank and wants to start a food coop. Maurice has wanted to do that for a long time and wants to help her do it. Robert talked about places like “The Grange” in Portland that have old food products that people can have for a minimal cost; another is “Second Harvest.”)

Feico noted that Murray Lloyd's key point was about the land ethic; of being a good steward of the land (coincidentally what Carolyn talked about on the radio that night). Murray seemed to be heartened by the meeting and liked the educational focus. Shelly Ragle was also encouraged by the meeting, saying “alleluia” that community members are coming to together to try to make trails and bike ways happen.

It was noted there was also a big turn-out at the next morning's tour led by Jon Soul.


Maurice has long noted a number of places where clean up gravel and dirt is needed to make certain intersections and corners less dangerous for cyclists. He's been prepared for a while to do it himself. The group noted that maybe one day many hands might make light the work. Some quick shoveling at each spot would do the job.


The TACA cleanup is Saturday the 23rd, and Maker's Fair and ArtBreak are the 30th on the following weekend.

Monday is a holiday weekend, so the group decided to take a week off and not meet next week.

Two weeks from today it was noted we could talk about the Shreveport Commons proposal. Some of the objections to it have been that it would include things that may not be needed, such as a major transportation hub on Texas Avenue where few residents live, and would be designed by people that are not local.

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