The slow progress of business development in New Orleans East may invoke questions from some residents about whether anyone is actually working to make things better. In fact, there are many dedicated people working to improve the quality of life in our community, including elected officials, small business owners, large corporations, neighborhood associations, nonprofits, and even individuals working alone.
One of the nonprofits that is poised to make a tremendous difference in our community is Fast Forward Main Street. This organization is a private non-profit 501(c)3 that specializes in working with communities that have been hard hit by economic decline or natural disaster, and provides focused support to 30 small businesses in New Orleans East. It operates a national network of similar projects in Livonia, Michigan; Rumford/Mexico, Maine; and Atlanta, Georgia.
On December 7, the organization facilitated a Roundtable discussion of important issues affecting the community that were identified in a previous gathering in September. The purpose of the most recent meeting, which was held in the offices of Coaxum Enterprises, was to recognize sponsors of the organization, inform members of business development at the NASA/Michoud Facility, and follow up on Working Group Action plans for community goals.
The vision of the working groups is to ensure that New Orleans East is a vibrant, diverse and safe community that embraces innovation, new technologies, environmental sustainability and collaboration. It also strives to make the area a leader in global manufacturing, logistics and distribution, and entrepreneurship. It celebrates a unique quality of life with state of the art education, healthcare and community services, while also providing unmatched cultural, entertainment and recreational opportunities for residents. Ultimately, New Orleans East will be seen as a premier community in which to live, work and play. Several goals were identified to achieve this vision:
Goal #1: Reduce abandoned and unsightly lots and vacant commercial properties by September 2012. Team Members are Sylvia Scineaux-Richard (Chair), Corinne Ducre, John Filostrat, Tremekia Jones, Ed Washington, Greg Hamilton and Barbara Johnson.
Goal #2: Attract three big box retailers by September 2011. Team members are Gary Silbert (Chair), Greg Rigamer, Troy Henry, Igwe Udeh, Cynthia Beaulieu, Andrea West, Wiley Barrett, and Emile Paradis.
Goal #3: Create a partnership of technical colleges and others to provide training for New Orleans East businesses by December 2010. Team members are Robin Barnes (Chair), Carmen Sunda, Jason Burns, Mary Anne Schmidt, and Nakisha Knott.
Goal #4: Develop and implement a branding and marketing campaign that promotes New Orleans East as a great place to live, work and play by September 2012. Team members are Cliff Robinson (Chair), Bryan Trosclair, Barry Keegan, Bruce Brailsford, and Lisa Stafford.
Fast Forward Main Street: New Orleans East Retail Survey
Business, neighborhood and city leaders are working together to build an environment for small business and entrepreneurs to grow and flourish in New Orleans East as part of the Fast Forward Main Street Initiative. This community collaborative has identified immediate, achievable goals that will move New Orleans East toward the vision we all have of a thriving, vibrant community. One of the key issues that Fast Forward Main Street is addressing is the need for more quality retail in New Orleans East. Please take a few minutes to click on the following link http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CZFZKKK and fill out the survey that will help identify the shopping preferences and habits of people that work and live in the area. Thank you for your interest and support in positioning New Orleans East as a premier community in which to live, work and play.
Corporate sponsors include Louisiana Recovery Authority, Louisiana Economic Development, AT&T Louisiana, Entergy Louisiana, Coaxum Enterprises, Cox Louisiana, Jacobs Technology, Lockheed Martin, and New Orleans Chamber of Commerce.
Progress updates on these goals will be provided as they become available.
Lisa Stafford is editor/publisher of NOELA News, a free weekly publication distributed by NOELA Services, LLC targeting residents, organizations and businesses of eastern New Orleans. Lisa Stafford may be reached via e-mail: NOELABiz@aol.com or by phone at (504) 259-3927.
Photos by Vincent Sylvain/New Orleans Agenda.
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