July 29, 2009 

Dear Mr. Strong, 

      Support is building for the proposed greenway that you, I, and John Fontaine discussed in May of this year. Beginning directly across the street from The Montessori School for Shreveport (MSS) and continuing through to Stoner Avenue, this path could serve in several capacities, including, education, preservation, recreation, and transit. I am interested in seeing this happen both as an outdoor educator at MSS and as a member of the community-based group, ABetterShreveport.Org.

      From an educational standpoint, this is an opportunity to connect students to a historically pivotal area for our city as well as to each other. As you know, the path would parallel what was once the continuation of Bayou Pierre as it provided access to the Red River around the Great Raft. Thus, settlements such as Coates Bluff and gravestones predating the 1900’s provide evidence of Shreveport’s rich historical beginnings. Also preserved in this area are old growth forests that would give students a first hand account of native flora and fauna. We envision a trail leaving the main path that would include numbered posts corresponding with a keyed paper guide. This guide developed with and by students, would be used by their peers from MSS, Stoner Hill Elementary, SPAR’s Valencia Recreational Center, and Magnet High School. The educational implications and possibilities of such a trail are enormous.

      This path would also serve to provide leisurely and/or direct access between the riverfront and Youree Drive corridor. As you are also aware, there is a growing network of citizens looking for alternative ways of getting around town. ABetterShreveport.Org (ABS) has adopted this as one of its unifying causes and views this path as a potential model for others to follow; having said that, ABS will be prepared to provide recommendations for the greenway’s construction and subsequent maintenance. Already, ABS has had contact with parties within city planning; those doing the planning for future riverfront development; as well as active support from groups such as the Stoner Hill Neighborhood Association, the Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society, Caddo Parish Parks and Recreation, and the LSU AgCenter. We have been encouraged to find so many minds thinking alike.

      This letter was written in response to your request for a description of our interest; please let me know what further information or justification you may need before helping us move forward with this proposal. Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and continued support. 


Jon Soul