Frequently Asked Questions

what is BR Choice?

BR Choice is the result of a $500,000 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant awarded to the City of Baton Rouge's Office of the Mayor and partners including the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority and Louisiana State University. The BR Choice initiative targets an approximately 1.6 square mile area of two adjoining neighborhoods at the heart of north Baton Rouge.

What are the next steps in implementing the br choice plan?

East Baton Rouge Parish was officially awarded a $29.5 million grant by the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development in October 2019. Learn more about what the grant will go to, and next steps.

What does cni Stand for?

CNI stands for "Choice Neighborhood Initiative." Choice Neighborhoods is a part of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, which was created to align federal funding streams that invest in transforming neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity.

who developed the BR choice transformation plan?

Local leaders, residents, and stakeholders, such as public housing authorities, cities, schools, police, business owners, nonprofits, and private developers, come together to create and implement a plan that revitalizes distressed HUD housing and addresses the challenges in the surrounding neighborhood. Learn more about our stakeholders.

how will our neighborhoods be transformed?

CNI helps communities transform neighborhoods by revitalizing severely distressed public and/or assisted housing and catalyzing critical improvements in the neighborhood, including vacant property, housing, businesses, services and schools. Choice Neighborhoods is focused on three core goals: people, neighborhood, and housing.

how were specific goals determined for our community?

We engaged with community members to understand the concerns of neighbors related to the living conditions in their neighborhood. Research methods consisted of household level surveying, neighborhood stakeholder surveying (businesses, community service agencies, nonprofit organizations, etc.), focus groups, and listening and visioning sessions with neighbors and community organizations. Learn more about our community-engaged research framework in the BR Choice Transformation Plan.

What neighborhoods are included in the br choice community?

The neighborhoods of Melrose East and Smiley Heights have been selected. See map of the area.

Why were these neighborhoods chosen? 

Over the past several decades, the Melrose East and Smiley Heights neighborhoods, once vibrant and industrious communities, have become areas of deep-rooted violence and chronic crime because of unemployment and growing poverty. Because of the rich history and location of these neighborhoods, Melrose East and Smiley Heights were selected as the BR Choice neighborhood revitalization planning initiative area.

how long will it take to complete?

The plan will carried out over a period of 10 years. The proposed activities for the first few years will focus on the health, wellness and safety. Some of these activities include the development bike paths, artist crosswalks, and improved lighting. The short term implementation will focus on community engagement, connecting people with resources, workforce development training and employment. Additionally, the first phase of mixed income housing will become available.

will there be new housing constructed?

Yes. As part of the BR Choice Transformation Plan, we will build and establish Ardendale, a mixed-use development with 800 - 1,000 units of diversified housing types.

what is mixed-income housing?

In mixed-income housing, units for persons with different income levels are mixed together in the same building/development and no one knows the income of their neighbor. The units are designed and managed the same, regardless of the residents’ income.

how can i get involved as a community partner?

We welcome community partners who are passionate about transforming our community. For more information, visit our stakeholders page.

how can i get involved as a community member?

You can learn about upcoming events, meetings, and recent news on our community engagement page