BR receives $500K HUD grant for neighborhood transformation
Proposal to revitalize Smiley Heights/Melrose East neighborhood
BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) — Mayor Kip Holden announced Monday that the City of Baton Rouge has received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to create a community-driven transformation plan aimed at revitalizing the Smiley Heights/Melrose East neighborhood and the Ardenwood Village Apartments.
Baton Rouge was one of nine cites selected from a field of 52 applicants to receive HUD’s 2013 Choice Neighborhood Planning grants.
“The Smiley Heights/Melrose East Transformation Plan will be aimed at creating mixed-income, high-quality housing, attracting business investments, and providing the social supports and educational opportunities for individuals and families living in the neighborhood,” Mayor Holden said in announcing the grants at a press conference Monday.
The Mayor said City of Baton Rouge and its partners will undertake an intensive community outreach and engagement process to gather the residents’ vision about what they would like to see for the transformation of their community.
He said a set of strategies addressing housing, people and neighborhood concerns and opportunities will be developed to transform the Smiley Heights/Melrose East into a neighborhood of choice and promise.
Key partners and supporters of the program include:
- The East Baton Rouge Housing Authority (Co-applicant)
- The Mayor’s Office of Community Development
- The City-Parish Planning Commission
- The Integral Group
- The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority
- Louisiana State University
- The East Baton Rouge Parish School System
- Baton Rouge Community College
- The Melrose East Community Association
- The Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission (BREC)
Mayor Holden further acknowledged that U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu and her staff played a major role in the City of Baton Rouge’s application to HUD’s Choice Neighborhood program.