The Fourth and final group of GOOD Ideas for New Orleans volunteers took on a challenge that is faced in neighborhoods across the country: How can we empower people to improve neglected public spaces?
Every place is different, but neglected public space have something in common: there are few resources available. The group of volunteers decided early on that they were not interested in creating some one-off project. Community leader Tori Bush of the Creative Alliance of New Orleans, Sergio Padilla, Austin Lukes, Tara Foster, Patrick Kelly, Ryan Bordenave, Alyson Kilday, Ella Camburnbeck, Jeffrey Scanlan and Zach Gong challenged themselves to improve an intersection with an affordable and accessible project that could be replicated on similarly lacking corners across New Orleans, or for that matter, anywhere.
Working in public space comes with a dizzying array of bureaucratic hurdles, slow if deliberate approval processes, and unknowable costs in time and money. The team wisely sought out opportunities to work with a private property owner, with whom they could develop a project that created both public benefits and private ones, an arrangement more easily duplicated in the future.
Sure enough, opportunity presented itself. In Broadmoor, on the corner of Broad and Washington, something of a renaissance has begun. The beautiful new Rose Keller Library recently opened. Green Coast Enterprises just broke ground on Broad More, a new development anchored by Propeller, the social entrepreneurship incubator, the South Broad Community Health Center and the Broadmoor Improvement Association. All told, the four renovated historic buildings will feature offices, co-working spaces, retail, restaurants, and health care. It’s all part of a longstanding, concerted effort to revitalize this once vibrant corner, and it represents the the fruit of years and years of labor on the part of the Broadmoor neighborhood, its leaders, and countless others. The volunteers had found a truly inspiring site.