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OneRouge Community Check-In - Week 123


Week #123

This talk is a a continuation of our series on the driver ‘Growing Number of Neighborhoods in Poverty’ with a focus on the progress made with the ‘Imagine Plank Rd’ project and JPMorgan Chase 'Advancing Cities' initiative featuring speakers:

Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!


Speaker Notes

Manny Patole: Many of you have seen me around on these calls. Some of you have seen me in person. Pandemic has limited my chances of being on the ground there. And for those of you are not aware. I am actually to Casey's point, I am based in New York New York city, Brooklyn to be exact, but work closely with a lot of you on various projects there. And as the story goes I was hired to work on the planning part and the implementation of the JP Morgan. Advancing to these planning grants in April, 2019. I was hired on April 1st and my first day on the ground was April 5th for the food truck route. And since then, we've been coordinating with many of you on this call and some others who are not on the visioning of what plant road could be until what we're looking at right now, which is the implementation of what. Master plan that small area master plan called the imagine plan road plan for equity development. So without further ado, I will pass it off to Gretchen Siemers who is the Director of Policy and Planning at Build Baton Rouge?

Gretchen Siemers: And we, as you all probably know, are the redevelopment authority for the city parish and over the past several. We've really taken a focus on equity issues and making sure that our redevelopment areas really are reflective of. Some of the needs that we're seeing in the communities in, in our city. We are the redevelopment, a agency for the entire city parish. But we focus areas of focus on areas with the most need. Initially when. Designating the Plank road area as a redevelopment area. We were working with CATS at the time as well as, other interested parties. On the bus, rapid transit route. And really we saw the connection between our or, Chris Tyson who was leading the agency at the time saw the connection between north and south as being critical to the success of this area, especially this part of north Baton Rouge. We kicked off a planning process in which we did a visioning process first through a grant from JP Morgan Chase. And then after that we kicked off a planning effort. So the visioning and the planning effort we're different. We used some different folks both here on the ground and elsewhere. And we eventually hired Asur Robinson planning for out of New Orleans to help us create this plan. And the plan kind of it, it's not just a land or a real estate development plan. It really focuses on capacity building. And as you see, as you'll see through throughout the speakers that. We have today this really focus of ours to ensure that the investments that we're putting in the community can be carried on by the community themselves. And that the, there is ongoing capacity strengthening, will scaffold some of these organizations and social infrastructure up so that people will feel empowered to, continue on with, community ownership combating gentrification and displacement, et cetera. I'm gonna just go quickly over, some of the real estate projects that we have going. starting at the south end of the corridor at plank and caw, we're working on a grocery anchored, mixed use development. And when I say mixed use development we are still considering whether or not to include residential units at this site. It's probably unlikely given the site constraints and the parking issues that will have. Residential units. It's probably gonna just be the grocery anchored the grocery facility that's a, a full size class, a grocer along with a well known health clinic outpost, and potentially a community serving nonprofit use. And we're looking at this as. Gateway, to plan road from the south. And we're really focusing on the project being a landmark and, pedestrian oriented street oriented. It is gonna be across the street from the new B R T station. So we're really looking forward to how that project fits into this end of plank road going up, excuse. Going up the corridor on the intersection of plank and Calumet we had originally planned mixed use development to go in that space. Last year, around this time, a lot of the code related materials delays and labor issues caught up with us. And that project is no longer going forward as originally planned. So it was planned for first floor offices, including gold Baton Rouge offices and a daycare facility in partnership with the YWCA that project. A little bit different now. We're working with a a senior affordable housing developer to develop about 30 units of senior affordable housing at that site with no commercial uses. Then going up the corridor at Plank and Mohican on the west side of the street. We have we're working with the library to eventually get the Delmont branch that is that has a very low property. Maintenance score right now it's the building is in quite poor condition and they they need to either re rehab it or relocate it. And so we are working with with them as well as the city architectural services to see if the property that. The former chase bank at the corner of Plank and Mohican could be raised. And the Delmont branch could be located there along with some other communities serving facilities going up the corridor at Plank and Weller just caticorner corner to the chase site is a historic building it's it used to be a club. And before that it was a general store. That building was originally identified as being the location for the food project that Raymond and Sherreta can elaborate on the building based on our feasibility studies is gonna cost a lot more to rehab. So we're trying to figure out if there is a revenue generating, use that. More benefit more from the tax credits that are available to rehab historic building.

Manny Patole: Before going, it's a lot to talk about. We know that. So like to take this opportunity as a stopping point to talk more about their individual projects I'd like to hand it off to Sherreta and Veronica from TruFund and MetroMorphosis.

Sherreta R. Harrison: So I will let Veronica go first. And then I'll talk about our role in the small business development and then bring it back to the food project. Veronica will you talk with us about TruFund's role? In, in the advancing cities plank road project. Yes, ma'am

Veronica Reyes: We're really excited to be part of the advancing cities project. We have been doing a great job with working with Metromorphosis in the entire organization with putting out not only small business coaching and developing, but also entrepreneur series and courses. So we are on the fourth iteration of the advancing city cohorts. It's a five week entrepreneur series aimed at really given a high overview level of business accounting small business education and the realm of project management, risk management access to capital and preparing for access to capital. So we do a great job with partner. Several local Baton Rouge area, community leaders to market the upcoming training series. In partnership with metamorph is where we're offering the one to one technical assistance and coaching. We've held trainings and quarter one, quarter two. And right now, currently in quarter three of this year, with an average of about 25 to 30 active part. In addition to handling the revolving loan fund, we've been able to deploy roughly about I would say about 700,000. So that is where our challenge is. And our is deploying that capital to make sure that we are not only educating, but also preparing the participants so that they have the ability to. That capital there. So the, it, I think that the partnership with metamorphic is going great. And we're continuing to make sure that we're working with those individuals. And we have some really neat things happening with the 2023 and partnership with the chases community manager other than Rouge area, so that we can continue to provide not only robust training, but maybe. moreso one on one training to really get business owners to meet their goals. But it was a pleasure talking to you guys this morning.

Sherreta R. Harrison: For those of you who may not be familiar, I am Sherreta Harrison, I am one half of the newly stated intergenerational co-leadership team at Metromorphosis and Metromorphosis is an organization here in Baton Rouge that supports the coordination of efforts to bring about. Systemic racial and narrative equity. And so the goal of our work is really to help people create this thriving Baton Rouge, but not only to feel that it is a thriving city, but also to feel like they have. Have a hand in creating that change. And so to Gretchen's point about putting making investments into the city that the community can then sustain is very on brand with the work that, that we hope to do in Baton Rouge. I tell you all of that because I think it provides context for the work that we do with advancing cities, Baton Rouge, particularly the work that we do around business development through our launch VR container. And so launch VR is a, is one of our strategies geared to strengthening and supporting the business economy here in Baton Rouge. And so we work with both large businesses and small businesses to help them meet their goals for large businesses. That looks like diversifying their supplier pipeline. And so really connecting them to minority women and vet veteran own businesses that can provide goods and services. And people like Exxon LSU Our Lady of the Lake, Baton Rouge General, all of those companies have a desire to do business with local. Local vendors here. And so our work is really about helping them identify those businesses on the other end of that spectrum. we support small businesses as they work to increase their capacity. Specifically our goal is to connect them with contracting and capital opportunities. And that's how we show up in the advance in cities, Baton Rouge space. And so this part of that, one to one coaching that Veronica talked about is really about helping the small business. Identify and articulate their needs and challenges so that we can help connect them to resources to address those needs and challenges, but also work on the other end to knock down some of those barriers. And so one of the things that we heard constantly is that there is no shortage of resources and and. trainings and classes in Baton Rouge for small businesses, but they don't always re result in actual opportunity for contract. Or for even capital small loans, grants, and those kinds of things. And so one of the the kind of promises, if you will, that we made, when we decided to step into the small business ecosystem is that we would also do on the back end. Some of this systemic work. And so our small business coaching for advances in cities, Baton Rouge is really. Helping the small businesses identify opportunities and challenges, and then connecting them to, to some of the partners that are already doing this work and so true fund being one of them the small business development center at Southern SJB group. And we really do play that support and coordination role. For small businesses. Veronica has given you the stats about the number of businesses we've connected to their true fund training class. We have also provided coaching to a lot more businesses that, that don't always have time for the class, but we may circle back with them and that coaching is ongoing. There is no deadline for. So I know that I'm out of time, but I do wanna mention and toss it over to my partner, Raymond, Justin, to talk about the other half of our role in the advancing cities project. And that is the plank road food project where the connection theres that we work with small food related businesses to stand up this systemic solution to food insecurity in the plank road area.

Raymond Jetson: I'm going to drop two things in the chat that I would call your attention to the first that I just shared. Talk about the aim of the project the food project that is a part of the advancing city work and the components of it are very important. The first is that it is intended to lift to uplift. Baton Rouge, the north Baton Rouge community. One of the things that we heard very clearly in meeting with community members and stakeholders is that there are a number of things that come to north Baton Rouge and that wear the north Baton Rouge moniker, but don't really connect with north. Baton Rouge community and its community members. And so we start with this notion of uplifting the north Baton Rouge community by offering a robust suite of services and amenities to support. And these elements are imported one food related entrepreneurship to bolster community health and nutrition and to advance economic opportunity. And so it is important to re to understand. This is where we start from. This is the premise. This is what it is that we are trying to create and to bring to north Baton Rouge through the food project. And so what is the project itself? The second thing that I just dropped the chat looks at the component parts. One is a community. The second is a commissary that is focused in particular on food trucks, but not necessarily limited to and storage in particular coal storage. And so community kitchen, this space that can be utilized by small caterers or people who are now. Cooking from their homes and not necessarily in the safest of environments. And so creating this space that is available to support this fledgling, but absolutely critical to the culture of the community, this food entrepreneurship that li exists. And lives in the community and providing the resources that are necessary including cold storage it will offer diverse classes. And for example, we've already had communications with Southern university in the Baton Rouge community college for their food safety classes and Baton Rouge, community colleges, co culinary science. Classes that, that can utilize this space. So the support of food security, and so being able to provide those classes and food safety that a lot of folks, and then very critically. Serving as a community centered space. And so in the design of the programming and the classes and the services, having a specific interest in, how does this invite the community into this space so that there is a sense of belonging there. The last sentence there. Is very important. It is governed through a cooperative model that elicits high level of community participation and commitment. And the vision for the food project is that it is a co-op and that the board of the co-op is consists of a majority of community members so that the project remains keenly sensitive. To the realities of the community and remains connected with the the community in a very real way. So that's the aim and then the component parts that are envision where we are right now. And this is the last thing that I will share and certainly be open to questions, Manny and Sherreta is we we are in the process of developing a steering team to help shepherd this process so that there are diverse perspectives that are brought to it. And we have recently en engaged a consultant to craft a business plan so that we have. Three year strategy to ensure the sustainability of this project before we lift it all the ground. And so that's where I am. And I'll be glad to answer any question.

Sherreta R. Harrison: There are questions in the chat and so we will lift some of those up after our last speaker. But if you want to engage any of the speakers, wanna engage in the chat with those questions. As I see Veronica in there, that would be really helpful. And so our last presenter of the morning as a part of this advancing cities team is Manny, whom you all have heard talk and share his knowledge weekly here. And so Manny tell us about your role in the advancing cities Baton Rouge, collaborative and specifically how you are building the community in that.

Manny Patole: I work collaboratively with Build Baton Rouge. I am with Co-City Baton Rouge, Co-City is a protocol developed by professors, Sheila Foster and Christian Georgetown university. And the premise behind it is. engage local communities and their local leadership not necessarily political leaders or elected officials, but they are involved in a multi-stakeholder approach for local economic development and revitalization through the co-governance of public assets. It's not a prescriptive approach that says you have to do X, Y, and Z, and then bam. Everything is done. Rather, we look at it from the perspective of going into the communities. And understanding what they want and how to then from there, we help facilitate those desires to help with the revitalization of the area. So through the process of the imagine plant road, small area, master plan visioning, as well as the implementation our key role were twofold. One was the creation of securing affordability within the Plank Road corridor to prevent displacement as well. And leveraging the vacant, abandoned, deteriorated properties that are within the corridor and activating them into more productive use. So through that we developed the community, the plan road, community land bank trust with the mission of bringing people and affordability together to really revitalize that portal. The idea behind it is there is a land bank within Build Baton Rouge. However, it does have its limitations especially with adjudication and tax loans and things like that. We won't get into that as much today. But wanted to give you more of an update on how the project is going. We have been established now for almost six months, so kudos to that. We have our interim board, which has been established. I think I've mentioned some of those members to you before. Some of them may be on the call. I'm David Beach from the Wilson foundation, Lynn Clark from Habitat For Humanity Byron Washington, who's our committee at large representative David Summers. Who's here on the call as well. Thank you, David. And our BBR board representative Charles Landry those are the interim board members. And as we start establishing our operating policies and transfer properties into the entity, we, they will start to step down and local community members will be brought onto the onto the board. And through that, we'll also look at engaging local leaders, such as Raymond Jetson, Metromorphosis, and TruFund and others to help build the com their capacity to be part of these organizations. A lot of people within the community are leaders. That's not the question at hand. The question is how do we develop their capacity to feel comfortable being in those roles and really having that opportunity to engage with others in those. The second part of our project that we were charged with here at Co-City Baton Rouge is developing the eco fund, which we're now rebranding as our community park on Erie. Originally it was at the corner of Myrtle Lawn at Plank. We had some site control issues and moved it closer to where some of the other tablet projects that are being done by Dr. Marks and bill that Rouge are along the plan, load corridor. We have secured funding for the cons. Coordinating with BR and with public services on that as well. And looking to have an unveiling on what that would look like around MLKs in 2023. Of course we wanted to do this earlier. Obviously COVID has played a role in a lot of things, including delaying project timelines, cost of building materials and other supply chain issues. As we look forward, Much what Raymond and Sherreta had mentioned before with the idea of bringing in communities to help drive and govern these assets. We are also seeking to set up a community advisory panel of local subject matter experts to help with how these properties should be developed and where we should be doing our projects.

Sherreta R. Harrison: We're gonna open it up for Q and a now. And so far we've heard from Build Baton Rouge about this kind of overarching plan to increase mobility in the Plank Road area, we've talked about the small business development and the capital that's available for businesses in the serving the area. We've talked about solutions for addressing the food challenges that we have in our city. And we've talked about the the property and housing. A potential solution through the the land bank and trust, and then also creating community spaces through the eco park. And so are there questions are there questions for you from you for any of our speakers, anybody wanna come off mute before I jump directly into the chat?

Manny Patole: So I put some of them together a little bit. I know that there is some combination from Christi and others around the connection of some of these programs to existing small businesses, right? Whether they're small mom and pop shop or individuals seeking to be culinary entrepreneurs. I think one of the questions I'll combine them for both Veronica and yourself, Sherreta. Are there any spots reserved for mom and pop shops in this mixed use development area? Maybe that's more for Gretchen as well. And how are these nonprofits or how are existing nonprofits included with these small business cohorts.

Gretchen Siemers: I can address the mom and pop aspect, but I think it's more kind of goes to the programming of the food hub. The mix use development that we are working on right now, we have the general tenants identified as being the class, a grocery store and the clinic and we are evaluating whether or not that site is feasible for a nonprofit hub or the food project. The food project as Raymond mentioned is really to lift up those mom and pop food related businesses in north Baton Rouge. That's like the main goal, seeing if there are other needs please reach out to me and we'll see what can be fit in where as we have, like I said a number of projects in the pipe,

Veronica Reyes: So the training classes are really meant for any small business, including nonprofits that can take advantage of all of the resources. So what we really do is the subject matter experts really identify topics that impact all small business owners, including non-profits. And then the one on ones are really meant to narrow down and really work with that particular client, whatever their needs are. And so that we can provide additional resources with the connections that we have, the revolving loan fund. Those proceeds are meant really to help with equipment needs, real estate, acquisition and development, working capital inventory, they can also use it to refinance and other uses as well. That is not, we can also help nonprofit and also any small business. That's not considered a. Startup, we do have additional access to capital for startups, but those are, really targeted to people that are working in that space that have that are looking to purchase or need the funds to start up. Their actual business in a space that they're already working or managing in. Really nonprofits please feel welcome to come and get the resources that are out

Sherreta R. Harrison: There is another question about I think more suitable for Raymond. Is there or what will be the fees for small businesses to take the classes or use thefood project?

Raymond Jetson: The answer guys is to be determined. Obviously a part of that is in the development of the business plan. What is the best business model that can be crafted? That leads to some sense of sustainability. One of the things that we've learned in investigating this project from the beginning, from our engagement with JP Morgan Chase our involvement with the Descendant Global and others is that there aren't really models such as this across the country that are self. That they are all sustained by partnerships and through philanthropy as well as some revenue generating stream or strategy. So we've not determined that it is a part of the business plan. It is something that will be established in setting up. Setting up the actual food project I would to take advantage of this moment to also say that those mom and pops those moms those fledgling and, but yet thriving food entrepreneurs who exist in north Baton Rouge are the prime targets of this project. It is intended to lift up their capacity to thrive in the environment that they have chosen which is one of the reasons that we want to make certain that the leadership, the governance is community based.

Manny Patole: and I see that Tristi put another question about understanding more about the advancing cities project here in Baton Rouge. Build Baton Rouge does have a landing page within their website built within the chat here. However it is in the process of being updated. As you can hear, we've had many updates throughout our collaborative partnerships around our projects that need to be put in there. So for example, ours is no longer a community land trust it's community, land, bank, and trust. So it's evolved a little bit more. We have a board now we have bylaws of articles for corporation. Similarly. The vision of the food hub that it once was, or sorry, the food incubator that it once went is now involved in something much more robust as well. So we'll be posting those updates in the coming weeks as well.

Sherreta R. Harrison: there is some a question and I'll toss it to Gretchen first, but because I think we still have Cheri which who is our, one of our co-chairs for transportation and mobility, feel free to chime in here as well. There's a question around how does this project impact or relate to connecting Baton Rouge to New Orleans? And so we know that there are the other projects. So Gretchen, if you could talk about that and then Cheri if you wanted to jump in and offer some additional information, that would be lovely. Sure.

Gretchen Siemers: The idea of putting the B R T along Plank Road really goes back to opportunities for people who live in that area to get to other areas of the city, as well as, people in other areas of the city, such as in, around the university, if they wanted to go up to north Baton Rouge for football game or go to the airport or other things like it, that will make that all easier. Cheri, do you wanna add anything to that?

Cheri Soileau: So the commuter rail project between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is not a CATS project, but we are monitoring it. And we have a sense of where there's gonna be two stations in Baton Rouge, where they're going to be the bus from the transit. Service will be closest at what they call the electric station. It looks like that's where it's gonna terminate. So we will have those connections to a much wider regional system. And we're always looking for our own expansion outside of Baton Rouge, Baker to bring in more people as we get the B R T project going. And as we start talking. Keep people outside of baker and Baton Rouge, which is our service area. The one thing we could use your help on if people in Zachary or west Baton Rouge or Denham Springs or wherever that we don't serve. Get them to talk to us, get them to talk to their elected officials. And we can talk about what we can do to help open the doors for a lot of folks and make those connections too, not just for the people of Baton Rouge and baker, but elsewhere. So we're constantly watching and monitoring and trying to figure out how we can be part of this because we know getting people to where they need to go is critical.

Sherreta R. Harrison: Are there any additional questions for our presenters? And then after this question presenters, I will ask if you wanna leave this group with one, ask what is one thing you'd like for this group to consider or to do or to help? As we really tried to lift advancing cities, but also rooted and grounded in the Plank Road community. So start thinking of your ask and I'll come back to you, but are there any final questions before wrap up presentations?

Manny Patole: There's something that was lifted up that both Raymond and I had mentioned briefly in our quick talk here, which is this idea of a community association or advisory. So the question was, will there be a community association to the plan, grow plan to keep the community accountable to each other? The vision that we have that came together with what Metromorphosis and others is this idea of a community advisory panel that's helping in parallel to the boards or the presidents or the directors of some of these entities that were coming online. Really develop it and implement those ideas and take into account the community's vision. I think more often, and what we've seen for the last, I don't know, millennia more often than not people are putting out there, what they think the community wants and then ask for community input at the last five yards. So in, in this case, we're much like the park much like the work that was being done so far. We're looking at community input first and then building up with those ideas. So as we start moving forward with the C L B T with the the other projects along the Plank Road corridor, we are looking to seek input and advice and to help manage a lot of these items. And I know a lot of folks with the community do not mainly not feel that they have those abilities or the time, and we're looking to help facilitate those capacity building efforts through Metro's true fund and. When we're looking at it from the perspective of keeping the community accountable to each other that, that is a very big philosophical act that I'll lead to the Reverend here. But I think what happens as we start having more community go governance and ownership of these areas, not to same, everyone feels they, this is their community and rightfully but as we start moving forward, we want to. Really feel that they have that position and they're being heard as well. Cause I think that's been for the last, how many years, no matter where you are, New York, Baton Rouge, LA do we feel that we are being heard is the question.

Raymond Jetson: I just think that it is really important that the community is really at the helm and supported in creating the community that they want to live in. And that makes their lives better. And that's really important. But the other part of that that I think it's really important for folks to know, is that means that you don't make a lot of decisions in advance. And so the answers to questions aren't always readily available because it would be unfair to say, this is what we're going to do. This is what we're going to charge. This is what it's going to look like. And oh, by the way, come on in and run community what we've already established. And so there are trade offs are important trade offs and necessary trade offs to making certain that. This work is truly about the community and not about what some other folks think are important for the community.

Manny Patole: Wonderful. And with those kind words, let go around the table and talk about that one. Ask thats intervention. I guess we could start with.

Gretchen Siemers: Yeah hearing what you and Mr. Jetson have to say here I, I think it's sparking something in, in my brain about, just asking people to. stay engaged and not get planning fatigue because our agency, we have a number of projects going on, not just this one. There are a number of other agencies having similar projects that are very impactful especially in the communities of north Baton Rouge. And there's no kind of overarching systematic way to stay engaged. So it's really important for the advocate community to just, knock down our divorce and, email us and try to find out what's going on. I wish it were easier. But. Like I said there's not an umbrella, organization kind of handling all of this stuff. We need not just we, as in build Baton Rouge, but all the agencies involved in planning in the city, they, they need your input. So please just try to stay engaged.

Veronica Reyes: I believe in the power of word of mouth. And so just continue to share what you heard today, encourage your community to know that there's resources available and that there are people that are willing to help and that wanna help. And that can meet the business owner where they're at today. And so even though it, whatever their needs are, it's really about just planning and making that that, that goal of there's really a goal and not just a wish by planning and then I only ask is just if you can follow us on LinkedIn or on Facebook or any other social media platform and just share what you're seeing. So we do a lot of, our self marketing just follow, just forward it, share it. Anything that we can do to continue to be an ecosystem would be great. So thank you. I appreciate everyone being on the call and it was nice to meet everyone.

Sherreta R. Harrison: So my ask, I have a global ask and then a smaller ask my globe. And they're the same. I promise many my global ask is that everyone on this call again, be engaged with advancing cities, Baton Rouge, and share this information because As we mentioned, this is really intended to be a community effort that will be sustained by people that, that are not the partners in the current place. And so the more that we can share about this, the more that people are informed about what's happening on plan grow the better and continue to imagine. And. What this can look like. And so plank row was once a thriving corridor in our city. It can be that again, if we all remember to work together. And then my small as is, as Veronica stated, we have lots of resources for small businesses. There is a lot of opportunity and money out there for small businesses. And so please encourage anyone that you know, that is, is thinking about a business. Want a business has a business is trying to scale a business to please sign up for our launch VR and advancing cities, Baton Rouge, I'm dropping a link in the chat. They sends people to all of the the applications to be able to consider for the coaching and the classes and the money. Small business are vital to this community and I and we wanna, we wanna give them money. So tell 'em

Raymond Jetson: So I have just dropped my email in, in, in the chat. My ask is one but in two parts, one, if you are doing food work please reach out to me again, this, we are genuinely attempting to connect and to build as much synergy and as much collective action as possible around this work. We aren't attempting to build an empire into ourselves, but generally, genuinely attempting to understand what's happening already. What's adjacent, what's in existence. What are we in proximity to? And how do we make certain that we create pathways that connect rather than create something that, that is a standalone. And so if you are doing food work please. Food work in north Baton Rouge. Please reach out to us if you know of food trucks please connect them with us or share information with us and small entrepreneurs. And then secondly, if people in the community who are doing this work who have a passion for their community, please make certain that they are connected with us. Give them my email address or connect me with them via. And I appreciate all of the work that's represented here.

Manny Patole: I think that's, that leaves me. I think to reiterate what a lot of folks said that maybe are a slightly different way is make those connections. I think we, there are resources within the area. There are also a lot of people who are doing similar work. How can you build upon each other and build each other up rather than. Become too competitive and drown each other out. I think that we, as we're building this community within north Baton Rouge and the parish overall how do you start making those connections being collaborative in your work and build each other up so that we can all succeed in that idea of the rising tide lives logo.

Sherreta R. Harrison: What's going on this weekend? What are y'all working on? What should we be attending? You can just come off mute or drop it in the chat..

Zoom Chat

08:31:52 From Kim Mosby to Everyone:

Good morning all! Looking forward to learning from our speakers and all of you today!

08:32:32 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Good Morning from the crisp air in NYC

08:32:39 From Sherreta to Everyone:

Good morning Kim! And good morning to everyone!

08:33:16 From Pepper Roussel to Everyone:

Good morning, OneRouge!

08:33:21 From Kim Mosby to Everyone:

Good morning Sherreta! Hope you're doing well today.

08:33:32 From SK Groll to Everyone:

Morning all! Excited for today's discussion

08:35:32 From Sherreta to Everyone:

We have a bit of a deep bench for presenters today so please drop questions in the chat. We will do our best to get to all pf them throughout the call!

08:35:41 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Please feel free to put your questions in the chat. we will respond to questions after our speakers have talked about their collaboration on the JP Morgan Advancing Cities Plank Road plan implementation grant

08:35:49 From Manny Patole to Everyone:


08:37:01 From Sherreta to Everyone:

"ensure that investments that we are putting gin the community can be carried on by the community themselves."- Gretchen

08:37:10 From Sherreta to Everyone:


08:37:39 From Pepper Roussel to Everyone:

Question: as we talk building and transportation, what does that mean for connecting Baton Rouge to New Orleans?

08:38:01 From Pepper Roussel to Everyone:

I LOVE grocery stores!!! 🥰🥰🥰

08:38:21 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Pepper: Wait... there's more :-)

08:39:22 From Pepper Roussel to Everyone:

I can’t wait! I’m too excited to know things 🤗

08:40:51 From Pepper Roussel to Everyone:

Question: are there any spots reserved for “mom and pop shops” in the mixed use development areas?

08:41:24 From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone:

Sherreta, Oh!

08:42:07 From Pepper Roussel to Everyone:

Bring it, Bestie!

08:42:56 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Veronica, can you provide us with the link to the next session and some details about what the topic will be.

08:43:18 From Tristi Charpentier (she/her) to Everyone:

Are nonprofits included in the small business cohorts?

08:47:12 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

We have a bit of a deep bench for presenters today so please drop questions in the chat. We will do our best to get to all of them throughout the call!

08:49:12 From Raymond A. Jetson to Everyone:

The Food Project aims to uplift the North Baton Rouge community by offering a robust suite of services and amenities to support food-related entrepreneurship, bolster community health and nutrition, and advance economic opportunity.

08:49:57 From Veronica Reyes to Everyone:

All Businesses including non profit can attend the cohorts

08:50:31 From Raymond A. Jetson to Everyone:

In addition to a community kitchen, commissary, and storage, The Food Project will offer diverse classes, support food security, and serve as a community-centered space. The Food Project will be governed through a cooperative model that elicits high levels of community participation and commitment.

08:51:24 From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone:

Good stuff!

08:51:33 From Charlotta Carter to Everyone:

Good morning from. LLENA (AI) & SU AGR COE

08:51:43 From Veronica Reyes to Everyone:

We have a Cohort going on now and ends on 09/28 .. we are in planning phase for 2023 :)

08:52:04 From Mary Stein to Everyone:

The plans for the major Renovation/Expansion at Scotlandville Branch LIbrary include setting up the infrastructure for the Community Firdge as well as Food Truck Round Up in the front of the Library.

08:52:47 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Question: What will be the cost/fee for local food businesses to attend classes/use spaces etc?

08:53:03 From HAWF Team to Everyone:

Is the community kitchen a new brick and mortar build or utilization/renovation of an existing space?

08:53:44 From Sherreta to Everyone:

Yes, Mary!!! There are a number of efforts that are connected to Food in the area and those adjacent to it. The goal is for the community and the steering team is to coordinate those efforts in a way that they all end up building up the area!

08:54:08 From Cheri Soileau to Everyone:

Pepper, regarding the commuter rail project we, at CATS, are monitoring this project and are prepared to make those local connections to any type of commuter service that will connect the two cities.

08:59:06 From David Summers to Everyone:

Have to jump to my next call. Have a great Friday all!

08:59:53 From Gretchen Siemers to Everyone:

"Is the community kitchen a new brick and mortar build or utilization/renovation of an existing space?" Our initial feasibility studies on the site at Plank and Weller suggest the site is not appropriate for a new use. That said, we are committed to the space being a brick and mortar... potentially within the mixed use development at Choctaw, but there are other potential sites that are being evaluated as well

09:00:21 From Gretchen Siemers to Everyone:

*re-use not new use

09:01:47 From Helena Williams to Samantha Morgan(Direct Message):


09:04:49 From Tristi Charpentier (she/her) to Everyone:

Where can we find more info on advancing cities?

09:06:44 From Ava S to Everyone:

Will there be a community association of the Plank Road Plan to keep the community accountable to each other?

09:07:33 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

YouTube video -

09:07:35 From Charlotta Carter to Everyone:

Have to drop for another call have a great weekend

09:07:47 From Manny Patole to Everyone:,large%2Dscale%20investments%20in%20cities.

09:07:59 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

LInk to the BBR project landing page

09:08:28 From Veronica Reyes to Everyone:

09:08:33 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Thank you all for attending. I know many have to head to their 9-5 job and we appreciate your presence today

09:08:51 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

As we wrap up questions, we will transition to Community Announcements.

09:18:18 From Sherreta to Everyone:

09:18:38 From Veronica Reyes to Everyone:

09:18:39 From Raymond A. Jetson to Everyone:

09:18:50 From Veronica Reyes to Everyone:

09:18:56 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

09:21:01 From SK Groll to Everyone:

A rising tide lifts all ships- we all have to unlearn that scarcity mindset and stay rooted in the possibilities for ABUNDANCE in our community!

09:21:15 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

+10000 SK!

09:21:28 From rodneyna to Everyone:

09:22:05 From rodneyna to Everyone:

Historic Spanish Town Walking Tour

09:22:08 From Mary Stein to Everyone:

Design Open House for the Renovation/Expansion Project for the Scotlandville Branch LIbrary will take place NEXT Tuesday, Sept 20 from 2-4 pm OR 5:30-7:30 pm at the Library on Scenic Hwy. We will be significantly adding to the structure. Design and renderings will go live on the library's website Monday afternoon.

09:22:14 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

Tomorrow is Constitution Day.

09:22:53 From Tristi Charpentier (she/her) to Everyone:

On October 1, 2022, the Foundation will launch a new grant program to serve families below the ALICE threshold and/or returning from incarceration. The Engage pillar focuses on our most underserved populations with these specific goals:

Decrease percentage of families who are liquid-asset poor

Increase healthcare utilization by families below the ALICE threshold

Decrease recidivism rate

09:22:56 From Tristi Charpentier (she/her) to Everyone:

09:23:00 From SK Groll to Everyone:

YES! So excited for Scotland Saturdays + more concerts!!!!

09:23:03 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

Super excited about this project!

09:23:15 From Tristi Charpentier (she/her) to Everyone:

The Foundation will kick off the application cycle with an applicant workshop on Wednesday, October 5, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s River Center Branch at 250 North Boulevard. Organizations interested in being a partner in Engage are strongly encouraged to register and attend this applicant workshop.

09:23:17 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

09:23:18 From rodneyna to Everyone:

Museum Discovery Day: Hispanic Heritage Month - National Hispanic Heritage Month. ANND Pirates and Smithsonian Museum Day

09:23:20 From Manny Patole to Everyone:


09:23:24 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

09:23:26 From Veronica Reyes to Everyone:

Community Event: Business Growth and Digital Resiliency Networking Lunch- Tuesday, September 7th 10:30 am- 4pm

Attached is the flyer with the information for the upcoming event in Baton Rouge. Here is the link to register:

09:23:42 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Supported by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a social impact funder at the intersection of music and public spaces, SCOTLAND SATURDAYS hopes to qualify as one of the Top 20 finalists in the public voting phase of the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards. The public is urged to support SCOTLAND SATURDAYS’s proposal by participating in the public voting process, via online or text, taking place from September 12–21, 2022, at

09:23:43 From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone:

Everyone vote now while you’re thinking of it.

09:23:52 From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone:

It’s so quick.

09:23:58 From Raymond A. Jetson to Everyone:

What Morgan said…

09:23:58 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Public voting opens September 12, at [10:00 a.m. Pacific Time/12:00 p.m. Central and ends September 21, at [5:00 p.m. Pacific Time/12:00 p.m. Central]. The Top 20 finalists will be selected through the online and text-to-vote public voting phase. The Levitt Foundation will then review the top proposals and will select up to 10 Levitt AMP grant recipients, which will be announced on November 15, 2022.

09:24:33 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

The Levitt AMP BATON ROUGE Grant Awards are an exciting, multi-year matching grant opportunity created by the Levitt Foundation to serve small to mid-sized towns and cities with populations up to 250,000. Nonprofits will receive a total matching grant of $90,000 over three years (2023, 2024, and 2025 at $30,000/year) to produce their own Levitt AMP Music Series—an outdoor, free concert series featuring a diverse lineup of professional musicians that reimagines an underused public space to create an inclusive destination for people of all ages and backgrounds.

09:25:38 From Dexter Jackson to Everyone:


09:25:59 From Dexter Jackson to Everyone:

09:26:01 From Raymond A. Jetson to Everyone:

I need to drop off for another call...always a joy to be in this space and this community…

09:26:05 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

@Dexter - Do you have a FB/Twitter post we can share?

09:26:37 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

National Hispanic Heritage Month please check out Louisiana Organization of Refugees and Immigrants activities.

09:26:57 From Mary Stein to Everyone:

LIbrary's MANGO Languages has a "Pirate" Langugage module so you too can learn how to "Talk Like A Pirate"... Haar Haar...

09:26:59 From Dexter Jackson to Everyone:

@manny Yes! Email me at and I will send all the promotional materials right on over to you

09:27:24 From Veronica Reyes to Everyone:

It was a pleasure, thank you for the invite

09:27:36 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

The greatest library ever!

09:28:14 From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone:

If you happen to visit any of the following five BREC parks this weekend, make sure to check out the new mural and TOUCH to activate the fun. 😉 Gus young, Highland, Jackson (central), Zachary, and Baker Rec

09:28:28 From Kim Mosby to Everyone:

Thanks for the great convo to start my day! Have a great weekend!

09:28:45 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

Parking Day across the country and in EBR

09:28:48 From SK Groll to Everyone:

I LOVE book face Friday!!! Yes Sherreta!

09:28:49 From Manny Patole to Everyone:

thanks, Morgan!

09:29:06 From Rev Anderson to Everyone:

What is Parking Day

Community Announcements

Tristi Charpentier: So I announced last week that the Wilson Foundation is launching a new grant program on October 1st centered around folks who are living in poverty or under the Alice threshold. And those who are returning home from incarceration. We have three goals around that program to increase financial stability, decrease recidivism, and increase healthcare utilization for those population. I'm gonna drop the information in the chat again, so that y'all can look at the information on our website. Also wanna put on your radars that we will have an applicant workshop on October 5th from 10 to one at the Downtown River Center branch of the library.

Dexter Jackson: Anyway, as many of you have seen, probably on Facebook, and if you have my telephone number and I've text you, and if I'm, if I haven't yet, I apologize because it's coming later today. With Scotlandville Saturdays, I wrote a grant. I helped them write a grant to bring 36 concerts to north Baton Rouge. So I know we've been talking about. Plank Road a little bit, but let's just move a little bit west to Scotland Plaza over there by Southern University. This grant will allow us to invest in that space and turn it into a outdoor music venue to bring 36 concerts, north Baton Rouge and employ artists from the community and a whole lot of other. But we need to get to the top 20 in this voting process to be able to make it to the third round and become one of the top 10. So I think we made it from about 500 to 36. And right now we are sitting at number 25. And so in the chat, I am going to drop in the website and also the text to vote option. So that either one you can choose either one of those I'll also. Drop my email in there so that if you want to get the actual materials that we use, our promotional materials, I can email them directly to you and following with what's been set up by the team this morning. My ask for you is a couple of things. Number one, vote. To yourself. And number two, please spread this information to your network and help us get to that top 20 spot and preferably number one, as most of you who are my friends on here, know, I am extremely competitive and not being number one is driving me absolutely insane, but any help that you can. You can give us to, to bring this home would be much appreciated. And the main reason that we're doing this is because the people of north Baton Rouge and Scotlandville deserve the opportunity to be celebrated and have something cool in their backyard, just like everyone else does. And to create that economic boom, bringing other folks in from the city to invest in the local businesses that y'all are trying to fund and build and all of those things as well. So again, I'll drop everything in the. Any of your support is appreciated. And again, just reach out to me if you would like the materials to send out to your network and friends and family. Thank excuse me. Thank you.

Rodneyna Hart: I'm the museum division director for the Capital Park Museum and the other museums outside of New Orleans in the State Museum system. And we have a lot of things coming up in Baton Rouge. I drop loops to Facebook events. We've got our historic Spanish town walking tour and the proceeds for that go to the friends of the capital park. There's also a museum discovery day. So tomorrow is going to be an extremely busy day for Capital Park Museum. We're celebrating it's a Hispanic, national, Hispanic heritage month. And we are kicking that off with our annual programs on Spanish history on LA Latinx history in this area we're doing a Spanish town walking tour. We're doing a pirate day. We had a pirate day theme last year, and it was very successful because as everyone knows, we're coming up upon an international talk like a pirate day. So that's very soon. If you dress like a pirate, you get in free. Also it's Smithsonian museum day. So any of the participating museums that are working with Smithsonian museum day you can print out a ticket and have free entry to a museum of your choice. And we are also getting ready for an exhibition that will be opening in mid-October it is the Washington DC Mardi GRA exhibit. So that's going to be really exciting and we're hoping to get a lot of people in. So if you are interested in, hard in with us at the museum, come on through. Thanks.

So Mary Stein says the library's mango languages has a pirate language, so you can learn to talk like a pirate. There you go. So in case you need it to be bilingual and the one you wanted was pirate language, it's there. Any other announcements before we wrap our.

Mary Steim: But even more importantly than that Scotlandville branch library, next Tuesday, we will reveal the design images, the floor plans, the renderings for the tremendous expansion renovation that will begin next spring for the Scotlandville branch library. Where we will be adding a significant amount of square footage, totally revitalizing the black heritage collection, putting in all the things that, all the things that people are loving, like the collaborative work spaces and more digital opportunities, the special space for the teens, children, cetera, et cetera. And everyone is invited.

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