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'Tell Tara' meeting uncovers wide variety of causes for concern

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 5:00am

Councilwoman Tara Wicker hosted a town hall meeting Tuesday night where people could share their concerns about a wide variety of issues.

District 10 runs along the river, from the south gates of LSU all the way to Scotlandville, so there are lots of groups with lots of different areas of interest.

"Crime is, of course, of concern," said Rev. Dale Flowers of New Sunlight Baptist Church. "Economic development is a major concern in this area for us, and I'd say our schools, our public education is very important in this area."

Wicker gathered leaders from many agencies to provide status reports and take questions. On the subject of crime, Interim Chief Carl Dabadie said he wanted to let everyone know that the Baton Rouge Police Department supports them.

"Answer any questions that the public may have of the community, kinda give them just a brief explanation of what BRPD's doing and how we're progressing in this area," he said.

Several people voiced concerns that teens from the neighborhoods north of LSU often turn to mischief because they lack other activities. They peppered a BREC representative with questions about their parks, which they said were neglected compared to the parks on the outskirts of the city.

They also wanted to know what the Redevelopment Authority is doing to clean up their neighborhoods.

"The biggest part that's impactful to me is the housing," said Tamekia Jones. "That's my main focus, getting all these rundown homes back up so people can have a decent place to live."

In a similar vein, Dr. Kevin Harris, head of the Museum of Public Art, spoke about public art projects that will beautify Eddie Robinson Drive. He mentioned that several muralists and street artists from around the world will create works of art there in the next few months.

For all the questions asked Tuesday night, some people left without the answers they wanted to hear. But at minimum they had the understanding that people in government care, and want to listen.

"And I came out so that I could be engaged in the community," Jones said. "I live in (Wicker's) district, and so I just wanted to be informed on what's going on in my area."  

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