Rebuilding a park from the ground up.
Highland Park, located in the historic Highland neighborhood in the heart of Shreveport, has been underutilized and under-maintained. The way some of the park's amenities were constructed years ago has contributed to serious erosion issues. During heavy rains soil is being washed away, keeping grass and plants from taking root.
Inspired by Chuck Marohn at Strong Towns, we identified Highland Park as a perfect place to put in motion the "next smallest thing" we can do to make our community better. To complete our goals, ReForm has partnered with Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation (SPAR), Shreveport Green, and Caddo Parish which provide resources for the betterment of the park.
Highland Park Partners
Mitigating erosion and creating fertile ground.
In November 2016, Highland residents and ReFormers began implementing erosion control efforts led by John-Paul Young. Additional Highland Park Work Days were conducted on April 22, June 3, June 28, July 26, and October 28 of 2017. These events saw continued work on erosion abatement, litter collection, and conversation with citizen stakeholders about their hopes and dreams for the future of Highland Park.
Over 18 months, we have seen incredible progress in areas of the park where erosion controls have been implemented. In some places, as much as 12 inches of soil has been built up into terraces driven only by rain, collected behind obstacles we have created using discarded wood from partners like Figlio Tree Service. These terraces will become the beds where new plants can take root, which will help retain soil naturally. In March of 2018, new areas that need erosion control have been identified for future Work Days.
Guiding capital improvements.
In the fall of 2017, ReForm’s board members met with representatives from SPAR to discuss the use of a 2011 bond issue that allocated $200,000 for use in capital improvements for Highland Park. The reconstruction of the walking trail throughout the park had already been identified. Remaining funds were unallocated and SPAR invited ReForm to conduct a survey to determine the desires of the community for the park.
Over two survey days, December 16, 2017 and January 27, 2018, ReForm volunteers conducted a door-to-door survey to determine the current use of, complaints about, and dreams for Highland Park. Additionally, an online survey was conducted in which participants were required to indicate their address to participate. The results have been compiled into our report.