Did you miss the “Making it Happen: Brownfield Resources in Louisiana” workshop in Shreveport last week? Over 40 attendees heard from 11 presenters on a variety of topics. Here is a recap of speakers, topics and discussion.
The welcome address included remarks from multiple people, setting the tone for the speakers and discussion throughout the workshop. Ms. Pam Atchison, of the Shreveport Regional Arts
Council, the facility host for the workshop, shared the story of the facility itself, which included Brownfield money 10 years ago to repurpose a underutilized fire station. Mr. Roger Gingles, with LDEQ, shared Louisiana’s history with the Brownfields program, and shared some amazing statistics on what has been accomplished; and reiterated the exciting news that the LDEQ’s Brownfield Resources group has tripled in staff, providing additional resources for our state.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Camisha Scott Marshall, from EPA Region 6, stated “Brownfields are the heart of a community”. She shared statistics about the program’s success, as well as some new items that resulted from the 2018 Build Act.
An LBA Board Member, Chad Lacombe of Acadiana Planning Commission, shared his thoughts on “Prioritizing Sites: What Makes a Project a Good Candidate for Brownfields?”. He shared some background on what planning activities they have done, as well as examples of both an inner-city and a rural example of projects in progress utilizing Brownfields.
After lunch, John Sutherlin from the University of Louisiana Monroe, provided his ideas on the topic “Building your Brownfield Network – Who to Involve and How to Find Them”. Sharing a soup bowl full of agency acronyms, he discussed many of them with some of the grant opportunities each has, with examples of how they can work in tandem for your Brownfield project. One of his main takeaways was to remember “you are not alone” there are people available to be resources and help walk you through the process.
“Preparing for the Brownfield Grant Competition: Identifying Target Areas” was discusses as a tag team approach, by two Shreveport locals. Mr. Wes Wyche, with the City of Shreveport, shared an example of how strategic geographic area identification can lead to a ‘domino effect’ for development. Followed by Pat Murphy of the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana and LBA’s Vice President, who shared his winning example that started with a VISION.
Kim Mitchell, Director of Center and Institute for Community Renewal, spoke on “Thinking Creatively about Brownfields”. Mr. Mitchell started with the challenges community visions often face, and dived into the leadership components of what it takes to actually implement a vision. His talk included not only leadership skills and book suggestions; but discussed a corridor example where this method has been successful.
Day One was wrapped up with “Getting to Know Your Brownfield Resources” a joint discussion by EPA, LDEQ, City of Shreveport, and KSU Tab. One of the main takeaways, is that EPA Region 6, now has a greater voice for Region 6 applicants in the grant process.
Day Two began with an overview of a award winning plan and area, “Shreveport Common: An Uncommon Cultural District – Brownfield Redevelopment Past Successes and Future Plans”. Ms. Wendy Benscoter, Executive Director, of Shreveport Commons, sharing the intricacies, challenges, and successes to date. She also shared the existing and future plans for the area.
“Building Your Brownfield Team” discussed by both Blase Leven of KSU Tab and Rebecca Otte of LDEQ. Both shared their thoughts on how a successful Brownfield Program is all about the team, including the Leader.
Wrapping up the exhilarating workshop with “Preparing for the Grant Competition – Tips for a Successful Proposal”. Ms. Camisha Scott Marshall opened up the session with the concept of ‘Tell Your Story’ through a song from the beloved Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
After a day and half of full of great speakers, networking and a room full of people in support of Brownfields; attendees were left with lots of thoughts. Continue to follow LBA to find out more about spotlight Brownfield projects and other topics to help you visualize example of how Brownfields can continue to work for you.
If you are feeling a little fear of missing out, you still have time to make plans to attend the Brownfield Workshop to be held in New Orleans at the end of July.