Sunday, February 23, 2014

Little Free Libraries, Nature Trails Links to Riverscape, Passenger Trains for Shreveport Discussed at Last Meeting

In attendance: Lamont Pearson, Brittany Turner, Susan Perkins, Brian Salvatore, Maurice Loridans, Feico Kempff, Loren Demerath, Amanda Bertrand, Lydia McClanahan, Kathryn Brandle, Lani Duke, Chris Chandler

Lamont Pearson talked about the Little Free Library movement, and several of the group expressed their enthusiasm for them.  Lamont described how people are working to have them proliferate in the city.  There are requirements for their structure; they need to be water-tight, etc.  Lamont said there are a number of people who want to host them, but we need people build some, and the main need there is getting materials with which to build them.  There are building plans on the national web site for Little Free Libraries, but they aren’t optimal.  There are now at least three in Shreveport.  One in Broadmoor and two in South Highland.  

Brittany said the Shreveport Times has donated some old newspaper containers, but they’re intended to be temporary structures to try out the concept before you actually build something.

Shreve Memorial is purchasing two to donate and put in community gardens as part of celebrating the 90th anniversary of the library.  The plan is to have them look like the Shreve Memorial Library!

Lamont described how one can search on Instagram for Little Free Libraries; some people document a given library every day and you can see the turnover, what arrives, what leaves, etc.  

Locally, the one at Line and Monrovia has a lot of turnover.  Twine and Rhino are businesses that both expressed interest in having them.  Brian said the Norton Art Gallery might be a good spot.  Amanda asked if they can work in gated communities and Brittany said they can.  Brittany noted it works on the same model as spots that are set up to share excess garden produce, free artwork, used bicycles, etc.  

Loren noted that these kinds of things add value to a neighborhood; they evidence the outward, sharing nature of a neighborhood, and they show that people are just out and about, and that they’re communing through something as intellectually healthy as just reading.

Lamont noted that anyone who’s deconstructing old buildings can donate the materials to make it.  Loren mentioned how past ABS attendees, Steve Shelburne and Dan Marcalus, have both expressed interest in getting a non-profit architectural salvage center started in Shreveport. Such a center would, itself, be another instance of where sharing resources and would add to the positive energy and cooperativeness of a community.  

Brittany said they’ve talked to NORLA about getting materials from their deconstruction of shotgun houses.  

When Maurice asked about the Bike Depot, Loren said he hopes to get official approval by next Monday’s meeting.  In the meantime, designing the banner, and shopping for the place to make it for it is our next task.

Feico mentioned that Chris Chandler one of the people trying to bring trains to the city.  The talk is about connecting Dallas to Meridian, Mississippi, and from there, to Atlanta.  It would make for a route directly across the deep south region, and connect to the north-south route that goes from Miami to Montreal.  They’re trying to restore the passenger rail traffic from San Antonio to Chicago, as well, and the southerly route could help that.  

State Representative Roy Burrell has been the main “engine” pulling that “train” in Shreveport.  Loren noted he might be willing to talk about it on the radio show.  

{Later that week, Loren ran into Representative Burrell at Centenary’s Founders Day Convocation and talked with him about the radio show possibility.  He said he’d like to do it, and we’re working on the date.  He might even be able to attend an ABS meeting after the show as well, and we might be thinking about what agenda items he would be interested in discussing, such as inequality in education, economic development, jobs, the paths network, etc.}

Most of the meeting, though, was spent reporting and debriefing on the meeting several ABS members had with the leader of the Riverscape Development, David Alexander.  Last week, Dionne Purcell, Amanda Bertrand, Lydia McClanahan, Loren Demerath, and Robert Trudeau met with David Alexander to discuss what possibilities there might be for preserving the nature trails that already exist to the south of Riverscape, and for providing links to the trails from his development.  It was noted during the meeting that we want developments like Riverscape to succeed, for the good of the city, and that ABS sees the Coates Bluff nature trail as an amenity that would help the development.  David asked the group to put together a wish list for the kinds of things we’d like.  One thing on the list would be a gravel trail laid over the drainage culvert that will be installed, and that would connect Magnet High School at the northwest corner of the development to the nature trail at the southwest corner.

Jon Soul, Director of Montessori Outdoor Education, and Will Roufe a Centenary Sustainability Living Learning Community Member at Centenary College, walked the trail with David Alexander the day following the ABS meeting, and to deliver the wish list.  

For a report on how the walk went, as well as progress on other projects, and, who knows, maybe ideas for new ones, come to the next ABS meeting, Monday night, 6-7, in the Wright Math Building on Centenary’s campus.  All are welcome!

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