Sunday, January 30, 2011

Leadership Set for Coming Events at Last Meeting

In attendance: David Young, Jon Soul, Feico Kempff, Carolyn Manning, Steph Pedro, Maurice Loridans, Will Loe, Cynthia Keith, Loren Demerath, Robert Trudeau

BY-LAWS PASSED

The group passed the by-laws as posted on the home page. It was noted that some things may need to be adjusted there, such as officer positions, but we can change them any time we announce a vote revising the by-laws a week beforehand.

DUES AND BOARD MEMBER CONTRIBUTIONS SET

Demerath had sketched a rough budget of income and expenses, while suggesting members dues of $30 per year, and board member contributions of $75. Loridans noted that our function is mainly intellectual in discussing projects, and our operating costs are lower than the budget suggests, and that we can raise funds as necessary for projects; the accountant fees for the non-profit work are one-time. Demerath agreed. Loridans suggested cutting in half the revenue streams to be $15 dues; one time board of director fee of $40. The group agreed to set them as such.

In discussing accountant fees, it was noted we don’t have specific quotes yet; accounting majors at Centenary might be willing to donate their services as part of a service-learning project; we may also have local contacts who are accountants who would be willing to work pro-bono or at reduced rate.

LEADERSHIP ON UPCOMING EVENTS DECIDED

The organizing committee for Velo Dendro will be Robert Trudeau, chairing, with Pedro and Manning’s assistance. And they’ll announce their meetings or requests for help as they procede. They’ll meet with Haley Dozzier and Matthew Linn and contact Matt Brown and the Bike Pedaler owner as well as other bike shop owners to hep with promotion. Pedro will help with the advance calendar; Trudeau noted that tie-in’s are useful; e.g., the Maker’s Fair is connecting to an event alongside the festival at Asiana Gardens; Velo could include other events; performances, etc. could tied into it; could also be advertised more regionally--there are tree lovers everywhere; also, need to make sure we’re not the same weekend as the Tour de Goodwill; it’s organizational structure and planning processes can be a model for organizing for other rides to hold even before next fall: architecture; home gardens, tales of local history, etc. What may have made this so successful previously was Matthew Linn’s email letter to many people outside of ABS’ circle; Matt Brown’s crowd through Sport Spectrum is another; could advertise more effectively bike shops on poster.

ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE COOP ORGANIZATION:

Though there may not necessarily be an event associated with this in the near future, we can help organize the group, adding our connections and resources, looking for opportunities, publicizing it, etc. Will Loe said he would like to be added to that group. Loe noted that in New Orleans its a big money-maker; in Richmond Virginia there’s one called Caravati’s, has two floors, etc; Demerath hasn’t discussed it yet recently with two likely leaders, Dan Marcalus and Steve Shelburne, but the group hopes one or both of them would be willing to take the lead in the project of forming an architectural salvage coop.

Shreveport Green (w/ Jennette Ginsburg) is apparently working on something like an architectural salvage center with the Fuller House; Shreveport Green’s interest in it may be that it has no place to put a lot of salvage material they end up collecting. (Later, Demerath ran into Ginsburg and asked her about it. She said it started with Fuller Center’s interest in being able to sell the surplus new materials they have. Ginsburg will keep us posted on its progress and let us know if there’s anything ABS can do to help.)

LAND TRUST PROCEEDING UNDER KEMPFF AND PAULA HICKMAN

Feico has been working with Paula Hickman and updated us on the land trust; certification requirements in the state so it can’t be abused by real estate speculators.

CYCLOVIA WILL BE ON FEBRUARY 26TH AND MARCH 5TH WITH MINIMAL ORGANIZATION

Cyclovia will be on Feb 26th and March 5th; The idea is to bicyclists use the parade route before the parade starts but after the streets have been closed to motorists. ABS members have done this in the past, and its a wonderful way to experience the city, the revelry, and bicycling on roads without the potential threat of automobiles.

On each of the two major parade days, Loridans will be at Cohabitat an hour before the parade’s start time; he’ll have his own refreshments that he’ll carry with him on the bike, and he invites others to bring their own too; he and his bike will be decorated as well. He says anyone who’d like to can join him; just be at Cohabitat by that time.

SAINT PATRICK’S DAY PARADE ABS FLOAT ENTRY

The parade will be a Saturday in mid-March, and the float can be ABS members on bikes, maybe with each bike decorated as a dog breed, combining our interest in bike paths, lanes, planning, etc., and dog parks. Keith will be the committee chair, with Pedro and Manning--the dog park committee, in effect. Pedro has access to a flatbed trailer, might could put dogs on it, etc., but potential problems with that were mentioned.

TACA CLEANUP

TACA cleapup of Texas Ave. and Cotton St. area will be April 23rd; Steph is on the board and will keep us up to date on their need for volunteers that day, etc.

Robert noted that we can put events on ShreveportBossierFunGuide.com. It’s a great central planning function; the Shreveport Times search engine is really poor; Young noted that it’s Gannett that has control over that.

TOLEDO BEND BIKE RIDE TO COME

Carolyn is planning on doing a bike ride around the Toledo Bend area. There are bike sharrows there and lots of bike infrastructure; its a model for Louisiana biking; Carolyn will be planning it; she may ask for help and will provide details as it approaches.

ANNUAL COATES BLUFF CLEAN-UP MARCH 12

The third annual Coates Bluff Clean-Up will be March 12th probably 9 to 12:00; the first year was reclaiming the area out of the mess; the second was concentrating on certain areas; have had lunch with hot dogs on Ian’s cooker and live music both years; this year the primary effort will be to reestablish an old switchback trail going up from the main trail to the ball field of Stoner Lab School.

At the Cemetary there is one headstone of a woman who was born in 1797; there may be other graves as old or older there. Jeff Girard has established it now as a state archeaological site.

The trail and area is much-used. Jon Soul has restocked the map box many times; Bessie Smith, the head of the Stoner Hill Neighborhood Association has been in on it since the beginning; Ian and Jon are going to their meeting to update them on Thursday; Jon spoke to the Mayor and Principle Franklin simultaneously about it during the MLK service day at the Stoner Hill Lab Elementary School. It’ll be giant community feel-good day.

Soul will serve as committee chair, with Robert Trudeau, Loren Demerath, and Andy Goldthwaite assisting.

Soul mentioned that Montessori just received a grant from International Paper (they’ve got a Mansfield plant) to... [notes incomplete at that point!]

Soul showed the group beautiful, inspiring pictures of the trail being used.

MISCELLANEOUS

Demerath will represent ABS at the South Shreveport Business Association dinner with Lt. Governor Jay Jardanne (Keith will also be there as a SSBA board member, and Pedro and Manning will attend as well.)

The group agreed that the theme of next Monday’s meeting (the 31st) will be the dog park. Unfinished business, though, from this meeting, is deciding on the themes of upcoming meetings, so that will also fall to the agenda on Monday.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nothing Special

It’s not heroic and it’s not rocket science. The fact that we can do it proves that riding a bicycle for transportation is a simple thing that almost anyone can do.
http://www.ecovelo.info/2011/01/28/nothing-special/

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blue bins: email city council with your supprt for the Shreveport single-stream recycling program

Writes Michael Corbin, "I encourage you, your class and those who read your blog to email EACH MEMBER of the Shreveport City Council supporting our current single-stream recycling program. We all recognize the importance of recycling and it is important at this time to let our City leaders know it is important to the citizens."


Btw: former council member Monty Walford wrote this:

"E-mail is not necessarily the best option for council. Shtne does not do computers!

When they wanted to put Tinseltown at Catholic Center we prepared postcards for each MPC member & council member. I'll be happy to set them up. Cheap at a quick print place to print. $.28 ea to mail. 100 to each council member would have big impact!"

Thanks for important background, Monty.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meeting Themes Set at Last Meeting

In attendance: Maurice Loridans, Cynthia Keith, Steph Pedro, Brian Salvatore, Susan Fontaine, Caroline Majors, Garrett Johnson, Feico Kempff

The group discussed the bylaws. Fontaine said she has looked at the by-laws and edited them.

It was agreed the dues would be largely for the CPA costs of establishing the non-profit. Majors suggested a tentative budget of the costs we anticipate as a rationale for the dues. Demerath agreed, and later communicated via email he would draw up a rudimentary budget to review for the meeting on Monday.

Pedro suggested a installing a paypal button on the ABS home page that would allow donations. It would be convenient if all the dues and donations could go through that button; it would significantly save on the work for Fontaine, or whoever would be handling the treasurer duties. Could also have an option button for dues vs. donations. There is a 4% charge for using paypal; some thought that was too much to sacrifice while others thought it was a cost of doing business that could be afforded.

NEW MEETING FORMAT OF THEMES WITH SPECIFIC CHAIRPEOPLE

It was agreed that the regular meeting format would shift to themed meetings. We can reserve 15 or 20 minutes per meeting for updates at beginning, then shift to the focus for that week.

It was also agreed the each week’s meeting would be co-chair by preferably two people. Those people would also take responsibility for publicizing the meeting to members of the public who might be valuable contributors at the meeting because of their interest or expertise. Majors said they could work like “public conversations” as were hosted by one guy in Seattle who’d gather particular people together for the conversation; it wasn’t led or with experts, but just to get the ball rolling.

The following are the themed meetings the group listed, with co-chairs or targeted people to invite listed for each. Only the next meeting has been set for a theme. All other themes have yet to be decided for their respective dates:

January 24: Event Planning: events to plan might include a hike of the Coates Bluff trail; ride in the St. Patricks Day parade (they choose one philanthropy to donate to each year; maybe the dog park could be the beneficiary; could do a green dog float 4shreveport.org), Cyclovia, makers fair (april 30th), cleanup for TACA (april 23rd that’s tentative maybe moving to the 9th), history walks, downtown tours (bike rides are more popular and can always be borrowed, collected in advance, etc.) can do both a ride and walk simultaneously; Jane’s Walk -- (May 7th and 8th) cities all over the world plan specific walks; individual walks that the community makes; e.g. TACA could do one.
Education: Brian and others; could follow the Aspen Inst. night that is focused on education.
Economic Development could follow the release the Strategic Action Council’s release of a report on accelerating minority business development; good report that includes solutions. They’re bringing in consultants from North Carolina to talk about it. Brian will get us the info. The following are either chairs or people we’d like to invite for each meeting. (Brian has since forwarded the report.)
Coates Bluff (land trust progress, etc.) - Loren, Jon, and Feico
Bike Ped Plan - Caroline and Steph
Dog Park - Cynthia, Step
Downtown Redevelopment (Shreveport Common, TACA, retail, residential, red river district, etc.; would be an opportunity to bring people together with a shared interests and could lead to connecting efforts) - Loren, Caroline, Maurice
Micro-brew-pub - Garrett and Susan and Maurice and Loren
Bike Coop - Maurice and Garrett
Architectural Salvage - Dan Marcalus and Steve Shelburne and Loren
Community Supported Agriculture, Community Gardening, Food Coop - Leia Lewis, Jen Courtney, Maurice, Gregory Kallenburg, Grace Peterson
Coalition for Better Bus Stops - Jeannette Ginsburg, Steph, Gene Eddy
Parking Day -- Caroline; it’s taking over parking spaces and making them into parks, to take over and make into parks; can do design competitions; just feed the meter and buy the space for a day.

UPDATES on Red River District, Community Foundation Meeting, Dog Park

Demerath updated the group on the Red River District Committee, and described the discussion at the first meeting as much like that in ABS that previous Monday; he described the mayor’s charge as relayed by Dale Sibley, the importance of planners that Demerath articulated, etc.

Pedro and Majors met with ThinkFirst, a safety organization that does a lot bicycle safety outreach; Donnna Cavanaugh is the executive director and would like to be the lead advocate to support the bike-ped plan’s application to the Community Foundation, and wants to be on the steering committee too; she’s more focused on safety and injury prevention, but the interests are aligned.

They also met with NLCOG, and tomorrow meet with Parish commissioners including Matthew Linn.


On Pedro, Majors, Demerath, and Kempff’s meeting with Paula Hickman and Margot Shideler of the Community Foundation using the Foundation as the holding entity for the dog park funds that we raise; Hickman said there should be an explanation in the solicitation of funds that if for some reason a dog park doesn’t arise the money could be used for a similar purpose; something to help dogs, or pets generally, for example.

Also discussed at that meeting was the Coates Bluff land trust. The gist of the meeting was that we’ll work with them about how to build a land trust for all of Northwest Louisiana; not just for recreation purposes but for urban agriculture as well. She’s waiting to meet with Southeast Louisiana land trust and Feico will lead the way with that.

Dog Park Committee met at Naked Bean the week before as well; Jake Toloso was there and Oliver had suggested that we invite him join us because it was on his platform; Carolyn Manning provided a lot of good strategies for fund raising; already there’s been some donations of services from Paula O’Neil who has a pet photography business; she’ll also photograph the area when its chosen. Pedro noted that we’d like to seek input from the community as to the location and nature of the park; one issue is whether it should be in a neighborhood area or a public area; walkability to it, policing power, how would people feel about policing a public area vs. a neighborhood are issues; Demerath showed the Betty Virginia vision of Ian Webb’s; brought up the issue of how it would be more public for all if not in a neighborhood. That said, neighborhood parks serve the walkability function that would be used regularly; could have people nominate locations and have people vote on the area. Another strategy would be to have a fence in the Hammell’s park that keeps dogs from going onto Clyde Fant; don’t want to fence in Hammell’s cuase of bike path; could just be an off-leash area; allows for flooding. Could be simultaneously established with a more fenced area. Keith noted that a dog park is also for people who don’t have dogs: elderly, students, young kids who can’t have dogs but would enjoy watching.

The next meeting is the following Monday at 6:00 as usual, but the first of our themed meetings! This time it will be all about event planning after a quick (we hope) vote on the by-laws!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"Blog Blurting," Education, Coates Bluff Land Trust, Fund-Raising Discussed at Last Meeting

In attendance: Robert Trudeau, Will Loe, Barbara Jarrell, Cynthia Keith, Brian Salvatore, Sarah Galloway, Steph Pedro, Feico Kempff

FUND-RAISING FROM BOARD MEMBERS DISCUSSED

It was agreed that board donations averaging $50-100 per board member would be appropriate, and would go a long way towards raising funds for the non-profit fees. It was noted that after fund-raising from ourselves it could us in a good stead for applying for a grant to finish the funding.

We could apply for a NIP grant such as TACA has won to help fund their non-profit status; Will said his wife Amy Loe knows a lot about the NIP grants; it involves attending meetings, etc.

MEETING WITH THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

In the meantime, in order to proceed with fund raising for the dog park, we’ll be meeting with Paula Hickman and the Community Foundation on Wednesday, piggy-backing on Majors and Pedro’s meeting with her on the bike plan; we be seeing about the possibility of have an account housed under the Community Foundation to handle the money raised for the dog park.

Later, during a discussion of the Coates Bluff Team’s progress on various fronts, it was decided that Feico Kempff would join us at that meeting with Paula Hickman to see if a similar arrangement could be made that would allow us to move ahead with creating a land trust that would preserve the land to be used for the greenway and nature trail. There needs to be a board that sets up policies for overseeing the land.

DOG PARK NEWS

Will Loe and Cynthia Keith talked about the cost of the dog park and different features. Water and fencing are the biggest costs. The places we’re talking about don’t have water; plus pavilion area and benches.

The Dog Park committee is going to meet tomorrow (Tuesday), but also invites anyone interested to join them at 5:30 p.m. at the Naked Bean to discuss fund-raising strategies.

Keith updated the group on a talk she had with Tim Geodders and Roy Jambor on the area around Stoner. It was once a landfill and some say glass has worked its way up to the surface and there are some contaminants in the ground there and things can’t grow there well. But, because it’s a park area the city is responsible for capping it.

COATES BLUFF TEAM PROGRESSES IN COMMUNICATIONS, CHARETTE PLANNING, AND LAND TRUST

Demerath briefed the group on the Coates Bluff team’s work: 1 – pitching partners, 2 – prepping for charette by Dana; 3 – working on the land trust. (In an aside, Trudeau recommended “The Clearing” by Tim Gautreaux about clear-cutting forests in Louisiana; a violent, primitive, difficult setting with malaria and yellow fever; mafia involvement; oppressive conditions for African-American workers, etc.) Steph Pedro recommended a movie that illustrated the problems we could meet with if we don’t move on a land trust: it’s called “The Garden” by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, about the largest urban garden in LA that was torn down because the gardeners didn’t secure the land. That’s what Jon is concerned about is why Feico has been urging us to move forward on that for a while now. (And now, by gosh, we are!)

Pedro told of how she recently went to Coates bluff with her dog (which did get some ticks, btw) and her friends Jen and her cousin in high school and they all loved it. Did a lot of bird watching, and it inspired her friend to be more nature conscious.

BENEFITS OF BLOG BLAB NOTED

One person shared an opinion from a sometime attender but frequent reader of the blog, asking if we ever think about things before we blurt them out. Demerath said he’s a fan of the open network approach to things and thinks more good can come of openness than being circumspect and cautious about sharing information and opinions. Demerath shared the exchange with Pam via Steve Godfrey and the new dimmer switch there. The need for spaces like the Naked Bean was noted, and Sarah Galloway described the new Artspace renovation that will have a larger cafĂ© area that will come forward toward the front.

As another example of the benefits that can come of publishing the meeting notes, Demerath briefed the group on Adam Causey’s interest in a topic discussed recently for which he is now working on an article. (But blurting isn’t beneficial everywhere, especially in the “scoop” conscious land of journalism, so we won’t say what it’s about!)

LORIDANS PASSES ON A HELPFUL SITE FOR ADVANCING THE BIKE-PED PLAN, AND DONATES BIKE TO ADVANCE BIKING AT COHABITAT!

We viewed a site passed on by Maurice Loridans that gives tips for preventing any bikeway backlashes as groups like ours move forward in trying create a more bike-able city.

Pedro noted that in New Orleans recently they studied the impact of bike lanes and women riders have increased two-fold because of feeling safer. They also had a remarkable 95% rate of reaching potential users to educate and solicit feedback, largely through schools. They amount to good tips for Pedro and Majors on how to develop and market the bike plan.

As an aside, we haven’t mentioned in the blog that Loridans recently donated a bike to Cohabitat for use around town by any Cohabitat member.

SOUTH SHREVEPORT BUSINESS ASSOCIATION BEGUN

Keith announced the www.ssbala.com South Shreveport Business Association has begun meeting. Its boundaries are I-49 to the west, the river to the east, the parish line to the south, and downtown to the north; Keith is honored to be on the board that consists of government officials, residents, and business people; at the first board meeting they had someone speak about the master plan; at the next one they discussed downtown and how much they want to help with it; Beth Chumley (President) was interviewed by Tom Pace about how they are against sprawl, think it hurts downtown. (It was also noted how they see the value of greenspaces, particularly well-executed as in Pittsburgh currently.) Their first meeting is at East Ridge, January 27th. It is a non-profit and is $50 to join. Roy Jambor thought it was going to be a really good business organization. Angelo Rappolo is a member who owns a bail bonds company and car repair place. Lt. Governor Jay Darden will be the speaker at their first open meeting.

SHREVEPORT EDUCATION DISCUSSED

Brian Salvatore has been going to the Vision 2020 meetings. He noted that there are problems with our city’s schools, in large part because of people leaving the city’s inner neighborhoods for outer areas within the school district. The other districts are looking out for themselves and not for the core. But, we have problems in the central city. An idea that deserves consideration is of having a brand new high school in Allendale or nearby that includes mentoring and the people don’t go home at 5:00. A friend of Loe’s said a lot of the problems could be fixed by redrawing the lines. People won’t live in Highland because the school is supposedly bad in Creswell. They can’t risk their kids not getting into a magnet school if the elementary and middle school is bad.

Salvatore noted that magnet schools were created under the Caddo Parish School District's Consent Decree with the US Justice Dept. in 1981, and although these schools appear to solve certain problems, they often do not. We are using competitive exams to isolate the highest performing students from those students who remain in the neighborhood schools. Meanwhile, we are not addressing the fundamental problems in the neighborhood schools. Salvatore also noted that, in his opinion, we do not engage Southern University enough to help solve these problems in our school district. Their faculty have the knowledge and the expertise about how to address these problems. Kempff noted that Southern also has a certification program for day care.

It was noted that the school board could be engaged to get them to work together. It was said they are open about problems of racism and discrimination but it doesn’t get them anywhere. It was noted that they have to start much earlier engaging the mothers of the children, teaching them how to discipline the children, etc. It was also noted that those mothers lack trust, often for good reason, with racism and discrimination being real, as well as education and income inequality; that means that a person who is low income and African-American can know that what works for a white middle-class person won’t necessarily work for them. Salvatore spoke favorably of Reverend Jones at Galilee City, and Theron Jackson’s “Never Be Nothing” and the idea of an academy for students from a certain background. Amy Loe has had the idea of having sister schools that couple up and mentor. Salvatore said mentorship is good, and is not seen as condescending, but is what they want. Pedro noted that one can give it a try and see how it goes. Kempff and Galloway noted that Jackson’s idea parallels the Harlem Academy and something in either Chicago or Philly. Oraph Winfrey’s school in Africa was also mentioned.

ABetterShreveport will meet again next Monday, again at Cohabit from 6:00 to 7:00-ish. Join us! We’re havin’ fun!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Red River District Discussed at Last ABS Meeting

In attendance: Garrett Johnson, Barbara Jerrell, Cynthia Keith, Steph Pedro, David Aubry, Susan Fontaine, Carolyn Manning, Maurice Loridans, Loren Demerath, Robert Currie.

ABS FORMS DOG PARK COMMITTEE; LIKELY TO ATTEMPT TO RAISE PORTION OF FUNDS NECESSARY

The group discussed the funding of the dog park. The idea from Councilman Oliver Jenkins seems to be that we first make a good faith effort to raise as much money as we can; we would set a target of $250,000 and see how close we can get to it. It seems possible given the fact that $200,000 was raised in just a few days for the Greenwood Cemetery at Centenary and Stoner. As for using city funds, Jenkins believes it is for a small demographic. It was noted that both the Stoner boat launch and the skate park probably serve no larger a demographic the dog park would, and they were funded with public funds. Keith talked to a formerly very high ranking city official about it who thought it was ridiculous that we were being asked to raise all that money. He noted that public parks generally aren’t paid for by private citizens. That said, Pedro noted that this is a chance for ABS to achieve something significant and seems attainable. Further, the city may step in and help us, so we’re relatively cushioned from failure. Moreover, there is a sharp eye kept on SPAR expenditures. When the dog park was first floated as a public project, Shelly Ragle said she got many calls against the dog park noting that we can’t open swimming pools so how can afford to build a dog park. It was noted that people did not realize that those expenses are taken from two completely different budgets, operational being distinct from construction.

In terms of how we fund, there are lots of ideas, including making little plaques on benches honoring people who’ve given a certain amount (Keith and Jenkins have both already thought of that).

The location would not be Hamell’s Memorial park, which floods, but instead an area by the skate park and the Stoner boat launch. Incidentally, that location would be out of Jenkins’ district, but Jenkins would still be involved since he is the head of city council now. Jenkins did say they would pay for $150,000 worth of it, which could be more than half. He also thought of the local Purina plant as well as five other people he named that could be good to approach for helping with funding. Some of the leads he gave, such as Robinson Rescue, Cynthia doesn’t want to approach because they’re raising money too. If they were to join us as part of the fundraising community, perhaps. However, it was noted that this is a one-time donation, because SPAR is going to maintain the park, not something that would consistently burden an organization like Robinson Rescue. It was noted we could ask them if they’re willing to add a form letter or flier in their own mailings that could provide information on how to sponsor the dog park.

One person noted that we don’t have an idea problem but a political problem of how to negotiate the process. We shouldn’t let details interfere with the fundraising. It’s good to put in the basics of what you want, but so much as to give the idea that we’re committed to certain details & locations. Tell just enough details to excite people, but not so much that people to think there’s a set plan which they might think of problems about.

Cynthia Keith was nominated to chair the committee, and Steph Pedro and Carolyn Manning were also nominated to serve on the committee. Each agreed to serve. They said they would decide on tasks and set a time line and come back to the group asking for help or additional committee members when/if necessary.

RED RIVER DISTRICT DISCUSSED:

Demerath was congratulated on being appointed to the Red River District Committee, and he said was honored to serve. Currie said the name should be changed; the “red light district” is the connotation. Fontaine said many of her out of town friends have said that too. Loridans said the perception of parking has been a problem in the past. The 16th street trolley in Denver is a precedent for how such areas can be made successful and parking issues can be dealt with. Loridans noted that nobody goes to Bourbon Street thinking that they’re going to be completely in touch with their car. As soon as you get there, your car is more of a liability than an asset.

It was also noted that things need to filter down to the river from the district.

The casinos need to be in favor, or at least not resistant. If they’re not o.k. with something, it won’t happen. The casinos don’t want a passover to the boardwalk in Bossier, or a water taxi, but the Boardwalk did; lo and behold, neither has happened. It was noted that the casinos shouldn’t be able to condemn our downtown for their own private interests, but it appears they might be doing just that. However, such a strategy, if there is one, might be shortsighted, as a vibrant downtown might produce more traffic into the casinos than would take away from them. Certainly many who go to casinos in New Orleans wouldn’t have ended up going to them if they hadn’t been attracted to visit the city for other reasons, such as an active French Quarter. Shreveport could provide a similar regional draw for the casinos here.

It was noted that the traffic goes fast through the area; Johnson noted that the police use speed guns to pull people over there every day. Also, the whole district is hidden from passers-by in automobile. Loridans scouted it today and noted Nickey’s is not open for dinners other than Friday and Saturday nights. But others noted that Fatty Arbuckles is going strong. Moreover, the pedestrian traffic is nice and heavy there from 10 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. and beyond, peaking between 1 and 3.

Jerrell suggested making it a multicultural place, find a way to feature the different cultures that converge in Shreveport, including Vietnamese, Mexican, Asian, Arabic, Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim. It was also mentioned to be potentially be like Epcot Center where there are a restaurant/small indigenous gift shop, and entertainment, usually in the form of music or acting. One person noted it truly would be great to start with inviting cultures who actually do live in our area. One person heard that we have a great Buddhist Thai population in Bossier--but hardly any of them speak English! That could be a new job created for a Thai Interpreter!

Street vendors were suggested. They are fluid and can come and go as necessary, and can offer diverse things. Even shopping. “That would be great, to be able to go shopping when you’re drunk!” one supporter of the idea said.

Concern over preachers or others who might put off some from attending, sparked a discussion in the group over free speech in such locales. It was noted that private developers have the right to limit freedom of speech and impose dress codes, as the boardwalk does with its backwards baseball caps, etc.

Some in the group said it should stretch from along Commerce St. to down and around to the river. Commerce street offers the space to expand and offer diverse locations. It can’t just be what’s under the bridge, but needs to feed out into other areas.

Aubry noted that the perception is that the district has been a failure, but there is interest in three big vacancies. And it can be programmed and maintained well. It can be managed holistically with street vendors and maintenance, incorporating the green space at the corner of Texas and Spring, and incorporated into current festivals, or inspire new ones.

The shade is great under the bridge; it worked well for a Cinco de Mayo market held by some Mexican-Americans recently.

It was asked if people under 21 can still enter a certain area. As a 17 year old Susan couldn’t go to the district between Clyde Fant and Common.

Currie noted the more restrictions on business, the less activity is there. We have to incorporate what we already have and work to create a more seamless commerce area. Jerrell noted that you have to be aware of the markets of the existing businesses so as not to create unhealthy or unfair competition. On the other hand, the length of hours it could function create possibilities. For example, you could have a bike coop on the same block as a club because the hours are so different. It was noted that the 8 to 5 daytime users of a space don’t like racial and ethnic diversity in pedestrian activity. But the younger late night walkers and clubbers don’t care.

The loose restrictions in the district affect the outer areas of Broadmoor and Line Avenue, and Bossier as all the activity and money comes downtown after 2:00 a.m.

One air force person was once quoted in the Times as saying they’d been stationed all over the country and Shreveport has by far the best night life.

Many wondered why there aren’t condo’s over the restaurants in the District. One said it would be cool to look at the lights on the bridge, and residents would give it a more active, less-dead feel in the non-peak hours.

When someone else manages the district and gets the vacancies filled, the perception will be that it’s working, but we still won’t get what we really want. The owner of the building is El Dorado and the rent is still high. They can put the rent so high that the businesses can’t be successful, and so the restaurants fail; they don’t actually want a successful restaurant across the street from their casino. On the other hand, they wouldn’t mind residents. It was noted that poker’s popularity it could work in the casino’s favor. Could have all-night night care as well. Our area has a couple of 24 hour places here already. Jerrell said she’d move in tomorrow if someone gave her the space to live in. Pedro agreed. There is a lack of market rate apartments downtown. Curry talked about the possible locations nearby for residential spaces.

MISCELLANEOUS

Loridans said we should see the Remington on Travis by Stray Cat—it’s now fabulous.

ABS NON-PROFIT HOUSEKEEPING

It was note that it is CPA work that needs to be done, and we need to raise money for it. David Nelson has somebody in mind. David Aubry knows people too. But there are costs associated with it; perhaps $700 or so. With about $200 in our account, if board members were to donate an average of $50 to $100, we would have what we need.

CYCLOVIA ANTICIPATION

Cyclovia can’t be an officially organized event or we would need a parade permit. We can meet here and have some wine and then ride off. Eventually it would be great if people entered onto the route at various points going various directions.

SHREVEPORT PICTURES AND QUOTES

Garrett described a book about Houston (“Houston, It’s Worth It”) that has pictures of sites around the city with quotes from people about what they like about a particular place in the city. It would be a good project involving artists, photographers, or anyone that wants to contribute that could fight the perception problem of the city. People could submit on line, either pictures and/or quotes.

The group will meet again next Monday at 6:00 p.m. at Cohabitat, as usual.