Community Planning Assistance Team

Downtown Shreveport, Louisiana

Meet the Team

Robert Lurcott, FAICP, will lead the CPAT in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Project Background

The city of Shreveport is located in the northwest corner of Louisiana in Caddo Parish (County) and borders the states of Texas and Arkansas. It is the largest city in the area known as ArkLaTex, and has historically been and continues to be its economic hub. The city is home to roughly 200,000 people and is the third largest city in Louisiana.

Shreveport on mapShreveport was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Company, a company established for the sole purpose of developing a town where the Red River, a newly navigable channel and the Texas Trail, an overland route to Texas, and before that Mexico, converged. Shreveport was incorporated as a city in 1871. The original town site consisted 64 city blocks which currently serves as Shreveport's central business district and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the mid-20th century, Shreveport boasted a thriving downtown district and was a cultural as well as commercial destination. Specifically, Shreveport played a central role in developing the American music scene, providing opportunities for some of the country's most famous musicians, including Hank Williams and Elvis Presley.

Over the past few decades, Shreveport's downtown area has declined. The once lively streets are now lined with vacant buildings and sparse commercial activity. Historic buildings have been demolished to make room for surface level parking lots, considered to be more profitable than maintaining an empty building. Despite the decades of stagnate economic development, Shreveport finds itself poised to regain its economic and cultural prominence. The town is home to growing natural gas and film industries and is experiencing a revived interest in development throughout the downtown area. These new opportunities make the planning and design process even more critical if Shreveport wants to achieve its goal of becoming a destination once again.

Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover has requested a CPAT to help in the effort to revitalize Shreveport's downtown, using the recently completed master plan, Great Expectation 2030 as a guideline.

Specifically, the CPAT will focus on improving walkability and transportation options in the downtown area. The CPAT will use a comprehensive approach to recommend ways to provide access to both new development and renovations as well as propose adaptive reuses of historic spaces. It will be critical to build consensus with stakeholders and the community on ways in which walkability and transit choices can be enhanced and economic and housing choices developed, while at the same time preserving the charm and character of this historical area.

Updates

Initial Visit

December 5-7, 2013
In December 2013, Shreveport CPAT Team Leader, Robert Lurcott, FAICP, and APA project manager Jennifer Graeff, visited Shreveport to conduct a two day site visit. The visit was arranged by local planner and community team lead, Roy Jambor, AICP. The group met with community groups, NGOs, government officials and agencies and academic institutions to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing downtown Shreveport, planning priorities within the community and overall hopes for Shreveport's future. These meetings were critical to the effort of determining the expertise that will be needed for the next full team visit.

Sears Building, Shreveport, LouisianaAfter a full day of meetings, it was clear that community feels Shreveport is on the verge of becoming one of South's most livable cities making the CPAT effort especially timely. An extensive tour of Shreveport, and specifically the central business district and surrounding neighborhoods, further complemented information shared at the stakeholder meetings. Robert and Jenifer also attended a community meeting over the weekend where many community members shared their thoughts on the master plan and were also updated on some of the town's current planning initiatives. This was also a chance to continue engaging with the community and to explain further the expectations and format of APA's CPAT program in Shreveport.

The full CPAT team is expecting to return to Shreveport in spring 2014.