The Garden District Civic Association (GDCA) held the annual member’s meeting Sunday, March 10, 2019. Over forty members of the association were in attendance.
We want to thank Sidney Coffee, owner and operator of The Guru, for graciously hosting our meeting. The venue was very comfortable, and Sidney was most accommodating for the meeting.
President John Williams presented his state of the neighborhood address which covered the following topics:
- Membership: The GDCA currently has 330 members.
- Neighborhood security: Off-duty BRPD officers provided 600 hours of security patrol at a cost of $25,000 during calendar year 2018. This amount represents 80 percent of the Association’s annual budget. Statistics indicate that crime has decreased in the neighborhood. Officer Haley Stafford continues to provide a monthly crime report, which is posted on the GDCA website.
- Social Events: In 2018, the Association organized several social activities for neighborhood adults and children. These events included: spring garage sale; spring crawfish boil; Easter egg hunt; fall family picnic; fall champagne stroll; and the holiday lighting contest.
- Live Oak Trees: The glorious live oaks that line so many of our streets in the Garden District are in desperate need of some tender loving care. The city parish does not have the funding to provide the needed care. One quote obtained from a professional tree service by GDCA estimated $80,000 to trim and fertilize the trees. The GDCA does not have the funds to cover this cost. It will take a concerted effort by volunteers and sponsors to tackle this issue. We are considering forming a committee whose members will be tasked with finding funding solutions (solicitations, grant writing, etc.) to care for our trees. These magnificent trees help make the Garden District so unique and we need to do everything we can to care for them.
- Alley Clean-Up Day: The GDCA would like to organize an alley clean-up by homeowners or renters whose properties border the alleyway. In the meantime, homeowners and renters can call 311 to report alley issues such as pot holes, trash, abandoned cars, etc.
- Corporate Sponsorships: The GDCA added six new corporate sponsors this past year. Corporate sponsors pay $350 a year. To become a sponsor, visit gdcabr.org
Speakers from several governmental and community organizations addressed the GDCA members.
Rowdy Gaudet with the EBR Mayor’s Office addressed the following topics:
- Move EBR Infrastructure Work: RFQs have been issued for the major infrastructure work and for the community enhancement beautification project. Traffic light synchronization is high on the priority list.
- Blight Efforts: Big problem but also a major priority. 300 condemned house were torn down in 2018.
- St George Effort: Proponents have obtained enough signatures to bring it to a vote. Mayors office would like to see public meetings with residents inside and outside the proposed boundaries to enable transparency.
- Kansas City Southern Railroad crossing closures are still being negotiated.
- The Lincoln Hotel was purchased by a private investor who plans to the renovate the facility.
- Downtown library construction will get underway again soon.
Patrick Foy with Red Stick Social, which is the main building within the Electric Depot, gave the members an update on the progress of the facilities. will contain bowling, restaurant, beer garden, event space, roof-top terrace, and stages. The second building will house apartments. Only foot traffic will be allowed on the campus.
Daniel Esperanza with The Walls Project told members that their next planned project will be a mural on the recording studio at Myrtle and Perkins roads. They are hoping to obtain the needed funding through donations. They have raised $5,000 of the needed $10,000. Individuals can donate by texting Mural Mystery to 71777.
Congressman Garret Graves addressed traffic and congestion. Reported that the Washington Street exit redo should be opening later this year, and the I-10 expansion is underway. Three billion dollars in new flood protection funding has been secured. Congressman Graves stated that he is working with EBR District Attorney’s office, Sheriff’s office and police department to obtain funding to get staff levels in these departments up to full capacity.
Marlee Pittman with the Mid-City Redevelopment Alliance summarized progress on the Electric Depot and the Government St. road diet project. Their community engagement team works with homeowners associations.
Our 2019 GDCA annual meeting was well attended and members were eager to engage in conversation with all of our guest speakers. We would like to express our sincerest thanks to those speakers for taking time from their Sunday afternoon to attend out meeting and provide such valuable information.
A big thank you to our board members who have rolled off of the board this year; Jenny Iverstine who served as Secretary of the Association and Greta Corona, who served on several committees and led our champagne stroll social activity. Thank you ladies for your time and unselfish service to our organization.
Lastly, a huge shout-out to our grillers, Daniel Pittman and Jason Day. The burgers and hot dogs were delicious and such a treat. The food and socializing after business was completed was the perfect ending to our 2019 annual meeting.