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Monday, July 30, 2018

A Big Win For Shreveport

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HUD grant seeks to reunite, transform neighborhoods

In 2011, the city of Shreveport, Northwest Louisiana Council of Governors (NLCOG), and the Housing Authority of the City of Shreveport (HACS) embarked on a multi-year planning effort to revitalize the historic Allendale, Ledbetter Heights and West Edge neighborhoods.

With action-oriented strategy, community partners and a community advisory group supported by a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant of $250,000, a detailed “roadmap” called the Transformation Plan was developed.

This plan focused on HUD’s three main Choice Neighborhood components: housing, neighborhood and people.

Subsequently, the city and HACS have been “Planning While Doing” – implementing portions of the plan while crafting and retooling it to meet evolving circumstances.

In 2016, the city and HACS applied for a Choice Neighborhoods Planning and Action Grant. HUD then awarded $1 million to implement portions of the neighborhood strategy.

In 2017, the city and HACS submitted an additional grant application for a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant. In July the city was awarded $24.2 million.

The project area is bound by Hearne, I-20, McNeil Street and stops where Cross Bayou begins. It encompasses all of Allendale and Ledbetter Heights.

The grant application was for $30 million. Since the funding is almost $6 million less, city officials are reworking the parameters of the development. HUD must approve all modifications proposed by the city, and then the HUD contract will be signed.

All of the work is to be completed in six years, meaning that current mayor Ollie

Tyler will most likely not be in office at the completion date, assuming she is reelected.

Seventy percent of the grant must be used for housing. The city already owns all of the lots where housing will be constructed. The Housing Authority of Shreveport will manage public housing built under the grant.

The majority of the housing and neighborhood activities will be located in Ledbetter Heights, which is behind First Methodist Church. There will be some housing developed in the West Edge along Texas Avenue. Allendale will also have some housing development, and a neighborhood park will be expanded.

None of the housing projects or construction will be located in any of the proposed I-49 corridors through Allendale.

The housing developed under the Transformation Plan should provide a renewed sense of identity and excitement for these neighborhoods. It will also offer desirable amenities and convenient locations adjacent to downtown. Each of the housing developments will include units for a mix of incomes and family types.

Until the grant is finalized, specific details on all the projects, including involvement of community partners, cannot be released.

Nonetheless, this combined publicprivate project holds great promise for the directed areas. Additionally, it would serve as a model for future projects in blighted neighborhoods.

– John E. Settle

Also from John E. Settle Jr.


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