Sunday, June 1, 2014

Open to Public Brownfields Workshop on Tuesday an Opportunity to Find Funding for Bike Paths and More!

At our last meeting before taking our summer hiatus (though they'll be a mid-July opportunity to engage in an exciting training opportunity described in a coming post) we met a new visiter, Megan Davenport, who coordinates a program at LSU Health Center.  She's interested in creating a better Shreveport-Bossier to help her recruit fellows for her program, and she agrees that more bike paths would help.

Megan spotted this federally funded workshop that's being held on Wednesday on how our city can get funding to use brownfields for economic development and revitalization.  The attendance of ordinary citizens would show we expect our city to seize these opportunities!

The EPA is funding this workshop, but a range of funding sources are available for actual projects.

But what are brownfields?  They're defined as "abandoned, idled, or underutilized properties ...the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presences of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant."  Considering that, drainage ditches would likely be included.

This is an opportunity.  Not only for creating our dreamed of network of bike paths for the city, but of revitalizing downtown or any neighborhood where properties lie in wait of better use.

Anyone can attend, including you, even if you're just a person who'd like to be citizen's voice in favor of creative use of our resources.  The more regular folks like us speak out in favor if this sort of thing, the more government officials feel obligated to respond and go for it.  

Here's hoping a number of city officials from a range of agencies attend.  We'd expect folks to be in attendance the Department of Operational Services, the Metropolitan Planning Commission, the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG), as well as the Caddo Parrish Commission, and the City Council. 

I left the Mayor's Office off that list since Mayor Glover will be out of office soon, but any political candidate would be smart to be well-schooled in specific funding possibilities for converting brownfields to community assets.  (Come to think of it, it'd be likely folks would be asking candidates about their knowledge of those possibilities at our upcoming city council and mayoral candidate forums in the fall, don't cha' think?) 

But regardless of what officials or candidates attend, the more we citizens do, the more we'll know of the possibilities, and the more we can ask that government takes advantage of them! 

It's free, but the registration deadline is tomorrow, Monday, June 2nd.  
The workshop is Tuesday, June 3rd, at Riverview Hall, from 9:30 to 3:30.