Are you… Living Beyond your Means?February 2023
Black History MonthFebruary 2023
Beginning in 2021, the Community Foundation SWLA facilitated the Just Imagine SWLA 50-year resilience master plan which includes 10 catalytic projects. Each project originated with ideas gathered through public meetings and input by residents of Southwest Louisiana. One of the main obstacles that reemerged throughout the process was the lack of affordable housing. The Mid-City Neighborhood Transformation Team hopes to create affordable housing and economic opportunity through the successful submission of a Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant, which was submitted just this past month
As part of the research phase, the Just Imagine Mid-City Neighborhood Transformation team visited Bienville Basin in New Orleans to envision ideas that could be implemented with a substantial funding opportunity being pursued by the Lake Charles Housing Authority (LCHA) and the City of Lake Charles. Bienville Basin utilized a $35 million Choice Neighborhood Implementation grant to transform their community, and LCHA / City of Lake Charles will be applying for the same funds.
“We have transferred a dream to a detailed plan over the last year, and we are ecstatic about the results,” said Nicole Miller, Disaster Housing Recovery Program Manager for Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. “We have more than 20 agencies committed to the collaborative revitalization effort. With the grant now submitted, our dream team will prepare for an anticipated site visit in the spring and a final decision before the end of the year.”
Mid-City transformation efforts include creating a more walkable, attractive neighborhood with housing opportunities for all incomes levels, vibrant shopping, unique restaurants and access to employment and supportive services. The team is working with developer HRI as well as Urban Design Associates and Urban Strategies Inc. who have successfully applied for numerous Choice Neighborhood Implementation (CNI) grants.
With this dream team assembled, the Mid-City Neighborhood Transformation Team hopes to successfully receive $40 million in CNI funding to revitalize the mid-city neighborhood in Lake Charles. This will increase connectivity, walkability and affordability that are at the core of a strategy to transform the mid-city area adjacent to the Prien Lake Mall.
Other housing projects currently underway include Whispering Hope 2 senior living complex in north Lake Charles and another HRI downtown mixed-income development, Woodring Apartments, which is a 130-unit complex. The Banyan Foundation with the Council on Aging has also announced its plans for a proposed senior living community that will bring 120 units to the 6th Street area.
“Creating opportunities for safe and attainable housing for all residents, including seniors and families, is absolutely critical to our long-term recovery,” said Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter. “It has been many years since we have seen housing investments of this magnitude so evenly dispersed throughout the City. We are proud of the work being done with the mid-city transformation initiative and are hopeful for a positive outcome on the Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant application.”
For more information on Just Imagine SWLA, visit www.JustImagineSWLA.org, sign up for e-news and follow Just Imagine SWLA on Facebook and Instagram.