Residents helping develop city plan
Published 11:45 pm Thursday, March 27, 2014
As of this week, the plan for a future Bogalusa includes a bowling alley and urban agriculture. And those are just a couple of details in a vision that is being jointly formulated by city leaders, residents, business owners and planning professionals.
Dana Brown and Associates, which has been contracted by the city to develop and help initiate a viable plan to guide sustainable and successful growth, held a second workshop to collect public input Wednesday. A number of people took advantage of the opportunity to help continue to refine what the consensus sees as the best vision for Bogalusa.
Brown said the Comprehensive Resiliency Plan is not quite at the halfway point of development. After the master plan is finished, city codes will be written or updated in keeping with the vision of the stakeholders.
The project vision statement calls for Bogalusa to become “a stronger community of revitalized neighborhoods, with walkable streets with scenic green spaces, that provides for all of its residents, business owners and visitors a meaningful living environment and an opportunity to connect with their neighbors and nature.”
“You’re doing some of that now, but we want to strengthen that,” Brown said.
The plan covers neighborhoods and housing, business and accessibility and other components to make the city generally healthy, attractive and moving in a positive direction.
With a focus on building on what is already in place and keeping Bogalusa’s unique character, the idea is to make the most of what the city has to offer and to
overcome its challenges to make it a comfortable place for residents and an attraction to visitors and investors.
On Wednesday Brown gave an update of the plan in progress, which already includes business and commerce space development, green spaces in every neighborhood, infill housing, improved access into and out of town, walking and biking trail connectors to recreational areas and commerce centers and more.
Then she asked those in attendance to vote between two options on four different issues.
The group elected to remove the cement and plant the space at Willis Avenue and Avenue B where the mural is now, rather than to repaint a mural.
It also chose to initially focus on the commercial development of South Columbia Street rather than that of Avenue F.
The majority also voted to pursue the possibility of creating sizable tracts of land within the city for use in urban agriculture, rather than simply encouraging community gardens. The tracts would be used to plant crops, perhaps by a non-profit organization, and could not only provide jobs and regular sales income, but also bring in business by creating a specialty item, such as Bogalusa tomato jam, that could be sold to restaurants and stores across the region, Brown said.
When presented with a choice to include either a bowling alley or a movie theater in a centrally located complex, which would also include an education center to provide early childhood learning and after school tutoring, the group chose the bowling alley.
Brown said the latest public input would be used to further refine the first draft of a master plan that will be brought back for final comment in June. After that the plan will be finalized, then implementation, determination of financial strategies and the code work will begin.
Anyone who was unable to attend the workshop but who would like to provide input for the plan can do so online at www.bogalusaplan.com or at bogalusaplan on Facebook.