October 10, 2008

APA Volunteer Planning Team Assists Slidell

Team's visit includes meeting with Netherlands experts.

CHICAGO — Responding to a request from City of Slidell Mayor Ben Morris and the Tulane Regional Urban Design Center, a four-member volunteer planning team sponsored by the American Planning Association (APA) will be in Slidell October 13-15 to assess current planning needs and urban design issues, and offer planning guidance as the city continues its hurricane recovery.

"We are pleased that APA has offered to help," said Slidell Mayor Ben Morris. "We are committed to rebuilding better than before, while maintaining the history and charm of our town. We want to be an example of recovery for the whole nation," he said.

The APA Planning Assistance Team will meet and work with local experts, citizen groups, and municipal participants starting Monday. The team's tasks include:

  • Participating in the October 13 Urban Planning and Water Safety Workshop, an intensive planning event on the future of New Orleans developed by the Royal Netherlands Embassy, APA, Waggonner & Ball Architects, the Netherlands Water Partnership, and the South East Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East.
  • Touring Slidell to become more familiar with the city.
  •  Learning about recent planning work, including the implementation of Design Guidelines in Olde Towne and on the Fremaux Corridor, and the completed master planning effort.
  • Hearing presentations from a wide array of municipal employees, citizen representatives, neighborhood organizations, and others about Slidell's planning needs.
  • Presenting ideas about how best to re-use a post-Katrina trailer site once vacated.
  • Examining Olde Towne and the Fremaux Corridor in conjunction with design guidelines, annexation, and other issues that will help the City of Slidell determine the fate of this important corridor, its new I-10 exchange, and status as the gateway to Olde Towne.

The APA Planning Assistance Team is a group of experts offering pro bono planning services to assist Slidell in establishing a foundation for guiding future development within the city. The volunteer planning services are offered through APA's professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Team members hold various planning positions throughout the country and are selected to participate based on their unique expertise and the city's planning needs.

APA's Planning Assistance Team will be led by Jeff Soule, FAICP, APA's director of outreach & international programs. "We look forward to working with the Dutch team and the city of Slidell to provide planning assistance. While this can be a long process, the outcomes will benefit Slidell, its resident and other gulf region cities for years to come."

In addition to Jeff Soule team members include: Rollin Stanley, AICP, Director of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Planning Department; Jason Beske, AICP, chair of the APA Urban Design and Historic Preservation Division; and Heather Deutsch, an APA member and manager with the Rails to Trails Conservancy.


Denny Johnson, APA, 202-349-1006; djohnson@planning.org