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Choice Neighborhoods' study at its end

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Three years ago, Shreveport Choice Neighborhoods was granted $250,000 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It was to complete a study to find out how residents in Allendale-Ledbetter Heights want their community redeveloped. Time is up. The study must be completed, and the last step is a simple survey.

Morris Austin is the pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Ledbetter Heights. He's witnessed the area's population decline for more than 20 years.

"When I first came to Trinity Church, a lot of people used to live here, don't live here anymore," Austin said. "The younger people who graduate from college, high school, some of them go to Dallas, Houston. Other areas...."

Choice Neighborhoods wants to reverse that. Its leader Chloe Duplessis says the last step of their study is a repopulation survey. They want to know what it'll take to get people moving back to Allendale-Ledbetter. She's looked to the area's churches for input.

"Monday through Friday, there are about 6,000 residents in Allendale-Ledbetter," Duplessis said. "On Sunday, that number increases to about 12,000 people, which is amazing and provides us with an opportunity."

Austin says he'd like to see businesses come back to the area and thinks that, along with good jobs, will help boost the population.

"There used to be businesses here, like service stations, stores," Austin said. "A lot of those have closed up. We really would like to see some businesses come back."

Those may come easy. Duplessis says HUD will review their study and determine if Shreveport will be rewarded a multimillion dollar redevelopment grant.

"That initiative will basically take the plan that you've developed over the past three years and fund it transform a neighborhood," she said. "Those moneys can be anywhere from $20 million to upwards to $30 million."

Duplessis says the study will be given to HUD by the end of this June. Choice Neighborhoods will apply for the grant by the September deadline. For information how those of you in Allendale and Ledbetter can fill out the survey, follow this link to their website.

 

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