Residents participated in kickoff meetings on July 11 and 12 under the direction of Skip Smart, director of community development, Louisiana Economic Development, and Pat Witty, director of community outreach services.
They were assisted by Ardyn Triffiley, LED liaison; Roxane Barnes, principal account representative, CLECO Power Co.; Gary Mitchell, Ozark Insurance; and LaTania Anderson, project manager and the city’s grant writer.
Residents sat in small groups to discuss Baker’s strengths, barriers to its success and visions for the future. Answers were marked on survey forms for tabulation.
Extra forms were available for distribution throughout neighborhoods and others interested in getting involved in the planning process for Baker are welcome.
Groups brainstormed and came up with strengths, barriers and a wish list for Baker’s future.
A few strengths included fire and police protection, proximity to big city and lots of churches.
A few barriers included poor public image, weak educational system and lack of parental involvement in schools and sports.
On the wish list were more mom-and-pop small businesses, a farmers’ market, vo-tech school, cultural and recreational outlets.
More filled-in survey forms are needed and can be picked up at City Hall. Roosevelt Bryant is co-chair of the public sector and Steve Stein co-chairs the private sector.
Sustainability/steering committee chairpersons are David Thibodeaux, communications and marketing; Gary Mitchell, economic development; Julie McCulloch, community facilities; Jean Byers, quality of life; Doris Alexander, education and workforce; Chief Mike “Snapper” Knaps and Darryl Rainwater, governance and organizations.
The LDRC resource team includes Smart; Thriffiley; Witty; Stephen David, Central co-chair and mentor; Jennifer Tanner, senior principal, Janus Economics; and Karen Yates, Entergy community developer.