Pre-dating Mayor Tyler’s tenure, the City of Shreveport has been working towards the redevelopment of the Allendale, Ledbetter Heights, and West Edge Arts Area (now redefined as Shreveport Common). The main source of funding that has been pursued by Department of Community Development, under the leadership of Bonnie Moore, has been the Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative.”The Choice Neighborhoods program leverages significant public and private dollars to support locally driven strategies that address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation.”
After receiving a planning grant in 2010, a consortium of community groups and local government agencies developed a Transformation Plan in 2013 published by Goody Clancy, a firm out of Boston, MA. With this plan, the City sought to receive an implementation grant in 2014, which are both lucrative and highly competitive which they were unsuccessful in being funded. In 2016, the City was one of 10 cities that received funding for yet another planning grant, this time for $1 million. As of today, Shreveport was finally awarded an implementation grant which is said to have opened up an additional $100 million according to Bobby Collins of the Shreveport Housing Authority.
What exactly is in store for this neighborhood? “Mixed-use development” has been the main buzzword inserted into many of these proposals, promoting businesses with living spaces attached. The City has a bank of adjudicated property in the area with which to entice developers. According to the 2016 Planning Grant information, the City has acquired over 150 vacant and adjudicated properties. The Transformation Plan provides a roadmap of the holistic approach that the City will be taking, but exactly where the grant award will be spent remains to be seen.As more details are revealed, it will be exciting to see what opportunities are available for these downtown-adjacent neighborhoods. The City of Shreveport, the Mayor’s Office, and the Department of Community Development should be commended for their tenacity in working for this grant and realizing the opportunity.