Monday, April 23, 2012

Lead UL Coleman Developer Cole Guthrie Describes Plans for New Coates Bluff Development at ABS Meeting

In attendance: Loren Demerath, Kathryn Brandl, Caroline Manning, Susan Keith, Feico Kempff, John Settle, Maurice, Robert Trudeau, Elizabeth Rosselli, and Cole Guthrie.

Cole Guthrie
The group met with a representative of UL Coleman about Coleman's planned development along Coates Bluff. UL Coleman is utilizing real estate near the Coates Bluff trail. The development manager, Cole Guthrie, explained that Wright Island development plans to preserve the area's natural beauty by building on the backend of the plot. The community was master-planned 25 years ago with multi-family homes and commercial facilities. Homes will be featured in the $275-300,000 price range with concierge-services.

Guthrie’s presentation led to lively discussion of Shreveport’s real estate needs. Manning pointed out that many local residents move to North Bossier when shopping for a single family home because they want newer homes. Many would prefer to live in Shreveport but not in Highland. The possibility of single family homes in the development was suggested. UL Coleman deals in commercial real estate and does not sell property, so the construction of single family homes is not an option.

In addition to the concierge services for residents, UL Coleman desires to outreach to the surrounding community with programming. Ideas like cooking demonstrations, photography classes, and concerts in the parks were pitched. The facilities will include a 12,000 square foot community center that will host events open to the public and rent meeting spaces to local organizations. UL Coleman thinks the dedicated right-of-way along Coates Bluff is not well-maintained. UL Coleman wants widened concrete pathways to accommodate lighting and other safety needs on its trails.

The group discussed the possibility of constructing a system of nature and bike trails connected to the development. ABS desires a system of trails, similar to the systems in Dallas and Houston. Houston's Katy Trail built trails along bayous rather than drainage ditches. UL Coleman plans 6-feet wide trails within their property, but the paths will not be open to the public due to liability issues for non-residents, if someone were to be injured at the development. However, the trials along Old Willow Apartments will expand to meet this development’s proposed community center; this would be open to the public.

Guthrie explained that the connection of their trails to our public trails system is not a feasible legal option for UL Coleman. The group discussed possible solutions to UL Coleman’s concerns. Maurice suggested the usage of coded access point where the trail would meet, but Guthrie disagrees. Research shows that gated properties are broken into more, and the developers want interconnectivity. This interconnectivity provided to residents cannot currently be met by directly connecting the trails on UL Coleman’s land, but Guthrie proposed an alternative.

The representative offered an important suggestion for the expansion of our trails system. The state owns a 112-feet strip of land from UL Coleman's property line because of its history as the old Red River. UL Coleman holds an expansion right-of-way into this space for a proposed water feature. Though the land is owned by the state, one could lease the right-of-way. One cannot build any vertical improvements on state land or the petroleum line, so the trails would be a viable option for this land. The group would need to discuss the matter with the landowners on the west bank to understand their planning for land usage. UL Coleman wants to see trails going north and believes the state would the use of the north side of the right-of-way (property line). The group would need to speak with the property owners on the north side to assess their plans for the land.

The discussion repeatedly moved to the subject of "Riverscape." UL Coleman has been looking at the land for years, but the current owners, out of Southern California, oppose the idea. The owners want low-income, multiuse housing, but half of the land is designated wetlands. The land thus remains undeveloped. Riverscape is rich with history, and UL Coleman wants to place local historical artifacts in their community center. Both organizations would keep the natural beauty in their plans.

The group explained its past accomplishments to Guthrie. The current Coates Bluff trail layout was explained, but the group wants the trail to eventually branch east and to the Red River (through Riverscape). The group discussed the usage of water channels in the past as a pilot program for how to implement trails elsewhere. The group wants the trail to branch east and to the river through Riverscape eventually.

UL Coleman’s representative asked several questions about how ABS operates and its future goals. The group explained the usage of grants and the quest for community partners for easement maintenance. The group described the beneficial effects of the Coates Bluff’s trail. In addition to the recreational advantages, the trail serves practical purposes for travel, enables bird-watching, provides educational opportunities, and has significant historical and architectural significance.

1 comment:

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