Major Neighborhood Initiative Public Meeting Scheduled Thursday, August 30th

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL:  Dianna Payton, Chair EBRPHA Board of Commissioner at 225-383-0681 or J. Wesley Daniels, Acting CEO of EBRPHA at; Angela deGravelles, 225-202-5073

EBRPHA, RDA and City of Baton Rouge To Share Information for HUD’s $30 Million Choice Neighborhoods Grant


The East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority (EBRPHA), Redevelopment Authority (RDA) and the City of Baton Rouge will hold a town hall meeting Thursday, August 30, at 5:30 p.m. on the BR Choice Initiative. The meeting will be held at New Hope Baptist Church, 5625 Greenwell Springs Road.  There are more than thirty (30) stakeholder groups supporting this community planning effort.

The purpose of the meeting is to detail the next steps for the competitive $30 million HUD Choice Neighborhood Implementation (CNI) grant which is “vital to the ongoing progress and transformation of  this community,” according to EBRPHA Board of Commissioners Chair Dianna Payton.

Much of the research on the community's interest and design elements that has been gathered  through focus groups and surveys will be shared with stakeholders. Attendees will be given an opportunity to present their ideas as well.

EBRPHA will share key information on the initiative which comprises approximately 1.6 square mile area of three adjoining neighborhoods, Melrose East, Smiley Heights, and East Fairfields.  In 2014, the City of Baton Rouge was awarded $500,000 to begin the planning process to envision the neighborhood transformation process, now called BR Choice.

EBRPHA, RDA and the City are now preparing a $30M Choice Neighborhood  Implementation (CNI) grant application that will be completed and sent to Washington DC in mid-September.   

“The BR Choice Initiative provides an opportunity to invest in the transformation of an area of our city in dire need of uplifting," added Payton.  “We have a strong group of major stakeholders and we welcome additional community partners who are passionate about redeveloping our community. It is our hope that citizens, business leaders, schools, community groups,  foundations, higher education institutions and individuals from these neighborhoods and beyond are invited to join us for this key strategy meeting to focus on continuing community engagement to accomplish the vision," added Payton.  

East Baton Rouge Parish Redevelopment Authority President and CEO Chris Tyson noted that "For almost a decade the Redevelopment Authority and its partners have worked to develop Ardendale with more than $50 million invested. Now we are excited to partner with the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority and the City of Baton Rouge in the next phase of this major revitalization."

The new HUD CNI grant is focused on three core goals:  Housing, People, and Neighborhoods.  The "People" goal is to improve outcomes of households living in the target housing related to employment and income, health, and children’s education. 

The community neighborhood initiative process is part of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative created to align federal funding streams that invest in transforming neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods of opportunity.  Added Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, "The plan is focusing on the cradle to college-employment model while incorporating arts and culture and health and well."

"The voices of families from these neighborhoods, as well as the stakeholders throughout the community, are vital to demonstrating overall support for this significant investment in education, economic opportunities and health/wellness," said J. Wesley Daniels, Jr., Acting CEO of EBRPHA.  He noted that one major aspect of the vision  to create an attractive mixed-income, mixed-use neighborhood to increase the quality of life for the residents of Baton Rouge.