Thursday, July 18, 2024

Louisiana Main Street Communities Secure Major Federal Grant for Infrastructure Improvements

by BIZ Magazine

Town of Homer in North Louisiana one of the recipients

Baton Rouge, LA — Louisiana Main Street, in collaboration with multiple state agencies and a dedicated consultant planning team, has been awarded a prestigious $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Thriving Communities Regional Pilot Capacity Builder Program (TCP-R). This award, one of only six granted nationwide, aims to bolster infrastructure development in six underserved Main Street communities across the state.

The grant will fund a comprehensive technical assistance program designed to enhance mobility, reduce pollution, and expand affordable transportation options in these communities. The selected towns—Franklin, Homer, New Roads, Opelousas, St. Martinville, and Winnsboro—will receive tailored support to develop and execute a pipeline of infrastructure projects.

Driving Community Development

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser expressed his excitement about the award, emphasizing the importance of supporting small towns. “We are thrilled to be one of only six projects selected nationally for this award. Our small towns need support, so we are pleased the project team will deliver customized technical assistance and capacity-building services. This work will make an immediate impact while also catalyzing more private investment in our downtown districts,” he said.

Ray Scriber, Director of Louisiana Main Street, echoed these sentiments, noting the potential for significant community benefits. “This project will help the communities make incremental improvements while working to secure funding for larger projects,” he stated.

Targeted Assistance for Six Communities

The six communities were selected based on data indicating the greatest need for infrastructure improvements. Each will benefit from a three-year program that includes both technical assistance and direct funding.

Jimmy Hand, Main Street Homer Board President, highlighted the impact on his community: “Homer is excited to be selected for the DOT Thriving Communities program. This is a great opportunity to develop a plan for infrastructure projects that will improve transportation and walkability for our residents, making the Homer Main Street district safer for our citizens.”

Collaborative Effort

The success of this initiative is attributed to a strong partnership among various state agencies and the consultant planning team. Key collaborators include the Louisiana Office of Planning and Budget, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Louisiana Department of Health, LSU AgCenter, and Louisiana Economic Development. These partners are providing over $200,000 in in-kind matched funds, significantly enhancing the support available to the selected communities.

The consultant planning team, comprising the Center for Planning Excellence, Grey Engineering, and Place + Main, will provide expert guidance on economic development, transportation planning, and infrastructure improvements. Their recommendations will be informed by community needs, ensuring that projects are both relevant and impactful.

Long-Term Benefits

Beyond the immediate assistance to the six selected towns, the program aims to create a “Community of Practice” by sharing presentations, materials, tools, and recorded workshops with other Main Street communities in Louisiana. This initiative is expected to foster collaboration, enhance awareness of best practices, and build relationships that will increase long-term capacity across the state.

About Louisiana Main Street

Louisiana Main Street is dedicated to revitalizing and supporting downtown districts and traditional commercial neighborhoods throughout the state. By fostering economic development and preserving cultural heritage, the program aims to enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

For further information and updates, follow Louisiana Main Street on social media.

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