Smart Growth Summit begins in Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There's a city on the Mississippi River that has had its shares of ups and downs. It's struggled with transportation, crime, and a population that won't stick around.

This may sound familiar to residents in Baton Rouge, but this story line comes from Memphis, Tennessee.

"We're having the same battles that you are in your town and everywhere, but that is no excuse to not do what is right for the long term," said Memphis Mayor AC Wharton.

Wharton shared his city's challenges with Baton Rouge community leaders at the start of the Smart Growth Summit.  The three-day event is all about addressing those very same challenges found in the Red Stick by using the principals of smart growth.

"Which just lead to healthy economic development, transit choice, coastal sustainability and community resiliency and that's why we want to bring everyone together to make sure we start a dialogue and continue that in our community," explained Tim Basilica, vice president of the Center for Planning Excellence.

Smart Growth is a comprehensive approach to development, focusing on key issues like safety, green space, and transportation options.  Memphis has had a lot of success with their smart growth efforts, something local leaders hope to share as they continue a 15-year effort to move Baton Rouge towards Smart Growth.

"You can already see the effects of smart growth in downtown baton rouge. We are sitting in the shadow of an incredible IBM development, new residential developments that are popping up,  a new river front poping up along the Mississippi River," Wharton said.



This is the ninth Smart Growth Summit. It will continue through Wednesday with various sessions between leaders in planning and development. More information can be found


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