Updated: Jan 18, 2022
Baton Rouge is a city of doers. If locals don’t see a community problem being solved, they’ll address it themselves. One of the biggest challenges for the Capital area is underdeveloped and overlooked neighborhoods with blighted buildings and vacant lots. As a whole, the Baton Rouge community has taken the fight against blight into their own hands.
“I think Baton Rouge is a tale of two cities,” founder and CEO of Kimble Properties Anthony Kimble says. “We’ve done a great job highlighting these problems through articles and the media, but now it's about making sure the resources are going into the communities so we can start seeing the change in those communities.”
Kimble is a Baton Rouge real estate developer, entrepreneur, and social activist who has promoted “buying back the block” and encouraging other Black people and youth to be homeowners and put funds into underserved areas. Local nonprofits have joined arms with Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome and even received the support of large corporations to execute redevelopment plans for the city. Here are five local organizations you should know about that are developing a better Baton Rouge.
Safe Hopeful Neighborhoods
Safe Hopeful Neighborhoods (SHN) serves as the hub of neighborhood engagement for Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome's Office, Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, and Build BR.
SHN is a citizen-based portal that connects people to city systems and empowers people to use those city systems to improve their lives. The group leads resident leadership training, provides funding for community improvement and civic association support, support for community events, and helps communities clean their neighborhoods.
Build Baton Rouge
Build Baton Rouge, formerly known as The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, brings people and resources together to promote equitable investment, innovative development, and thriving communities across Baton Rouge. Build Baton Rouge has been the heart of some of the largest development projects in the area. It led the Imagine Plank Road plan which lays out a transit-oriented revitalization plan to address the concentration of blight and vacancy on Plank Road. In 2019, Build Baton Rouge was selected to receive a $5 million JPMorgan Chase 2020 AdvancingCities grant to implement the Plank Road master plan.
Community Pioneering is a nonprofit organization founded in 2017 by members of the grassroots brotherhood, Next Generation Pioneers. The organization strives to better the Baton Rouge community and pour into underserved areas. To help with economic development, the group routinely patronizes local, small minority businesses. They also seek to improve the quality of life for locals, so the organization cleans up blighted properties and volunteers to mow vacant lots. Community Pioneering is committed to investing in building quality, affordable housing in a safe, beautiful community. They are pursuing the formation of a Community Housing Development Corporation and are working to build their first subdivision.
MetroMorphosis is a nonprofit organization striving to transform urban communities from within. The organization partners closely with other local changemakers like Walls Project, Build Baton Rouge, and Mayor Broome to design and implement sustainable solutions to persistent community issues. MetroMorphosis holds career and leadership workshops and discussions to educate and provide small businesses and people of color with information on economic development, urban planning, and youth empowerment.
Scotlandville CDC revitalizes the community through affordable housing, economic investments, and social development. Scotlandville CDC strives to maximize resources and neighborhood participation to produce an economically thriving community.
The organization hosts community outreach events and sponsors gardens, pocket parks, playgrounds, and community festivals. Scotlandville CDC plans to reinitialize Scotlandville by assisting first-time homebuyers with securing loans for their new homes with soft-second HUD funds after they have completed financial literacy classes and first-time homebuyer workshops.
In addition to these listed above, there are many more organizations doing great blight work in our city! Please comment below anyone else we should know about!