This was the first of three ABS meetings where Centenary students in an Urban Sociology class are presenting proposals for making a better Shreveport. Details of all the proposals will be featured on the ABS web site at the end of the semester, but below are brief descriptions.
Kelley Savage (pictured presenting to the right) proposed a program aimed at obesity, particularly for the people that cannot afford personal trainers and the nutritional information that goes with it. Kelley proposed that Shreveport adopt a program that has been implemented elsewhere, and for which there is funding support. The program gives people tours of grocery stores featuring healthy diet information. Kelley outlined the steps needed to establish a "Shopping Matters" program from the organization "Share Our Strengths," including the minimum number of people that need to be enrolled and the number of tours that must be given in order to receive funding.
Mariah Pitre described her proposal for an Outdoor Adventure Center. The center would be located at Centenary, administered by Centenary students, and would offer rentals of canoes, camping equipment, and mountain bikes, as well as post maps showing local trails and sites, and information on upcoming trips, organization meetings, equipment for sale, etc. Among the possible partners Mariah listed would be the Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society, the local mountain biking organization "LOCO", and the Red River Wildlife Refuge. Mariah also proposed that the Center be philanthropically oriented and donate procedes to organizations helping the homeless.
Jacob Hooper-Shaffer presented a proposal for an after-school music education program for elementary school-aged children. The program would take place on Centenary's campus and feature affordable instrument rental and both private and group lessons conducted by college and high school students. John noted that recitals and group performances would allow students and their families to increase their own social capital, reduce social isolation, as well as better imagine themselves on a college campus in the future.
Amanda Hock proposed a renovation and increased use of Centenary's inimitable "Band Shell." Notably, the amphitheater sits--usually unused--in a prime site right in the middle of the campus. Amanda proposed a number of options for making the seating more comfortable, such as replacing the concrete benches with a sloped grass lawn, or supplementing the benches with portable stadium seats, or, as Maurice Loridans suggested, coating the concrete with a new, smoother surface. Among the new uses Amanda envisioned as possible would be using it for the music school's "recital hour," theater performances, having a "Live at 5" music hour, possibly broadcast over KSCL, and making it available to off-campus organizations, such as The Peter Pan Players.
After each presentation there was active discussion with comments and suggestions for the respective project.
Before the meeting's end, Loren delivered a check to the treasurer, Feico Kempff, from the Community Foundation, in support of the dog park. Thank you Community Foundation!
The group also discussed it's support of Dara Sanders' application for a study of a downtown area through an EPA grant for brownfield development.
Next week, Dara Sanders will introduce herself to ABS. Loren had an extensive conversation with her about the role of planning and is excited to have such a knowledgeable planner working for our city and parish.
Also next week, Loren will report on he and Ian Webb's trip to Baton Rouge to see Dr. Bruce Sharky's graduate class in landscape architecture at LSU present proposals for greenways in Shreveport that morning.
But highlighting next week's meeting will be four more student proposals for a better Shreveport:
- a public art space using shipping containers
- free exercise classes in city parks
- an improved bus service
- heightening awareness of obesity causes and solutions