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denham springs town center Action Plan to transform the new City Hall and Train Station Park to a community gathering space.


Denham Springs, Louisiana Mayor Gerard Landry

City Council Members:

. Amber Dugas . Lori Lamm-Williams . Laura Schmitt Smith . Robert Poole . Jeff Wesley

Community Recovery Coordinator: Jeanette Clark

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This effort was led by a professional group that included: AIA Architects Rex Cabaniss and Nelson Sanchez; Kim Marousek, AICP, Capital Region Planning Commission; Jeanette Clark, City of Denham Springs; LA Main Street; and the LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio. This process would not have been possible without their leadership. Special thanks to these additional groups and individuals who contributed their time and talents: Al Bye, Denham Springs Merchants Association / Business Owner Alexander Cowles, LSU CSS Amber Dugas, City Council Bahareh Mohammadzadeh, LSU CSS Brendan Bailey, LSU CSS Capital Region Planning Commission Charles Crowder, Property/Business Owner Charlotte Reynolds, Arts Council of Livingston Parish Christian Boutte, DOTD Dale Zulke Arborist Denham Springs Donna Jennings, Denham Springs Main Street / City of Denham Springs Florence Crowder, Property / Business Owner Jacqueline Reed, FEMA/ Resident JT Taylor, Livingston Parish Tourism John Cavalier, Business Owner Louisiana Economic Development LSU Spring 2019 Civil Engineering Class LSU Spring 2019 Landscape Architect Class Marilyn Driggers, Property Owner Mary Alice Many, Property Owner Mary Felder, Arts Council of Livingston Parish McHugh David, The Livingston Parish News Patricia Genre, Denham Springs Main Street Preserve Louisiana Ray Scriber, Louisiana Main Street Robert Morgan, Property/Business Owner Seyeleah Zahra Fattahi, LSU CSS Sheila Lay, Arts Council of Livingston Parish Stacey Neal, Louisiana Economic Development

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mayor’s message

In December 2017, the City of Denham Springs adopted Denham Strong, a community based Long Term Recovery Plan in response to our devastating flood of August 2016. This process created a blueprint for the recovery of Denham Springs. A high priority project identified in Denham Strong is the revitalization of our Historic Main Street. By purchasing a key property asset in the center of downtown, the Old Capital One Bank building located at 116 N. Range Ave, the City directly invested in advancing this recovery project. In order to acknowledge the multiple civic uses at this site, the City engaged in a targeted design charrette led by two local architects, Rex Cabaniss and Nelson Sanchez. This process allowed key stakeholders to identify ways to leverage this property to enhance the Main Street experience. Over time, our vision is to implement the strategies identified in this Action Plan to boost economic development by attracting residents and visitors to our unique downtown. I want to thank all the citizens, business leaders, partnering agencies, stdents and staff who participated in creating this Action Plan. I look forward to continuing to implement the vision created by Denham Strong.

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existing site plan

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Contents: Planning Context - 7 Current Pedestrian Experience Existing Land Use City Owned Property Downtown

Planned Improvements - 13 Future Site Plan Visualizations

Inspirational Concepts - 19 Green Lots Farmers Market Pocket Parks Traffic Calming Festival Streets

Resilience - 29 Amite River Context

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planning context Downtown Denham Springs, a Certified Louisiana Main Street, has a long history of efforts to improve the main street experience for residents and visitors. In 2008, the Denham Springs Main Street Action Plan was completed, which outlined a variety of strategies to unify and enhance the development of the downtown area, primarily along Range Avenue. While many of these strategies were implemented, in part, the document has not been updated and does not reflect some of the current conditions in the Downtown area. During the Denham Strong Recovery Plan process, Main Street Revitalization was identified as a “High Priority Community Recovery” long-term implementation project, (see box next page). The strategy identified priorities such as district enhancements, restoration of Spring Park, small business development, facade improvements, and increased promotion of Main Street as a destination. In 2017 Louisiana Main Street completed a Market Study for the Main Street Association to help guide new business opportunities. In November 2018, the Denham Springs Historic District was added to the National Historic Register. In August 2019, three years after the flood, the City purchased the “Old Capital One Building” located at 116 N. Range to renovate as the permanent City Hall replacing the flooded City Hall. This purchase provides a great opportunity to incorporate the City Hall site into the day-to-day fabric of the Main Street. A significant amount of planning, design and preparation work was completed probono by local architects and, by LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio (CSS) students which made the design charrette a possibility. Additionally, the Louisiana Main Street Foundation provided a grant to offset professional design costs. Preliminary outreach and planning activities laid a foundation for the charrette. This work included: “Linking Land Use to Water Quality” workshop held by EPA that included the City Hall property as a site for consideration; a placemaking workshop held by LA Main Street and the Capital Region Planning Commission (CRPC); residents and visitors to the Main Street were surveyed about sought-after shops in April/May 2018; LSU students conducted a design study of Spring Park; LSU students also prepared the preliminary design charrette maps and documents; and, LSU Engineering and Landscape Architecture stuents studied stormwater needs, including green infrastructure near the Main Street area. The LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio summarized much of the student work into a master plan, “Spring Up!” Over the course of several months, this group completed the preparation work needed to organize the charrette, which was ultimately held in January 2019. The charrette was led by Architects Cabaniss and Sanchez with participation by key stakeholders from the City. The geographic area that was considered included all the city-owned property that lies north of E Railroad Avenue. (See Map on page 12)

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current Pedestrian experience


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Existing Land use The new City Hall site lies in the center of downtown Denham Springs just north of Railroad Avenue, East of Range Avenue and west of Hummel Street. The land was purchased in 1954 by the Livingston Holding Corporation and the Livingston State Bank was built the following year. The building continued to be used as a bank, anchoring the Main Street until 2014 where it remained up to the Flood of 2016. As the Denham Springs City Hall was made inhabitable, Capital One graciously offered their vacant bank building to the City, rent free, so they could stand up a temporary City Hall. Shortly after, city leaders decided to make this the new permanent location for City Hall. When deciding on a new location for City Hall, leaders considered several factors including: the new location did not flood and has historically not flooded, the parking lot of the site is used in conjunction with the neighbouring Train Station Park and bandstand for festivals and performances and, the multitude of city-owned properties in the block between Hummel Street and Range Avenue. Together these factors made purchasing this property an opportunity to create a town center. Nearby City-Owned Property Parks: Four parks are in the immediate vicinity of the new City Hall – Train Station Park, Centerville Park, Sanctuary Park and Driggers Park. Train Station Park lies just south of new City Hall between Railroad Ave and the tracks. This linear park is landscaped and has an elevated stage which is used throughout the year for multiple civic events and festivals. Centerville Park, which lies to the north of the site is a small open space that honors veterans with a bronze statue and seating area. Sanctuary Park is located on Mattie Street adjacent to the historic City Hall building and is a quiet space with majestic oak trees. This space is frequently used as a local spot for wedding and graduation photographs. Driggers Park is leased by the city and is tucked into a nook along Range Ave. It provides a respite for those shopping along the Main Street. City Hall Annex: This building fronts on Hummel Street and is bounded by public parking and connects the new City Hall property which lies directly south. The Annex provides space for the Arts Council of Livingston Parish, Denham Springs Main Street and the Disabled Veterans office. Downtown Public Parking: Just north of the Annex lies a linear public parking area that connects Range Ave and Hummel Street. This fully improved lot provides 27 parking spaces for the surrounding civic uses and nearby shopping opportunities. Downtown Events Downtown Denham Springs is the host of several recurring events and activities which brings thousands of residents and visitors to the area. These events include: Christmas in the Village, multiple 5k’s benefiting local nonprofits, FallFest and SpringFest. The New City Hall site will provide a formal civic gathering space to compliment these ongoing activities.

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city owned property downtown

Centerville Park

Driggers Park

City Owned Property

Sanctuary Park Historic City Hall

Train Station Park

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1 Gateway signage and lighting at Range Ave and Hummel St 2 Landscaped hedgerow along rear fence and enhanced tree and shrub planting in Train Station Park. Install additional acorn lighting along linear park.

future site plan

3 Expand Train Station structure to add restroom facilities on east and west side 4 Install ornamental stage screening along south side of bandstand 5 Add visitor information kiosk

6 Add removable bollards at Railroad Ave and Hummel St and at Range Ave so Railroad can be traffic-free for events 7 Enhanced (festival street) treatment of Railroad Ave to identify it as a special public space, potentially carry treatment into City Hall parking lot.

8 Install festival string lights along Railroad Ave between Range Ave and Hummel St. 9 At northeast corner of Range Ave and Railroad Ave install movable seating

10 Close off centermost driveway into City Hall parking lot and remove two poles and underground utility lines.

Install landscape beds with benches to soften parking edge and provide seating for events.

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11 Install parking lot landscaping to provide shade for events and for stormwater treatment. Use

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green infrastructure guidance for landscape improvements in the City Hall parking lot as a demonstration project. Add additional landscaping at the building entrances. Erect covered shelters along west side of City Hall parking lot and at the southeast corner of parking lot. These structures can be used for farmers market stalls, food vendor and craft/art vendor stalls during events and festivals. Provide trash dumpster location with screening from parking area and Hummel Street. Add continuous landscape beds along the utility payment drive-thru Enhance plantings along Hummel Street adding street trees and using green infrastructure methods where appropriate.

21 Explore improved

pedestrian circulation from Range Ave into the center of the site, possibly through Driggers Park. 22 Enhance branding and entry signage to the northern city parking lot. 23 Install shade trees and additional landscaping considering green infrastructure improvements, where applicable, to the north city parking lot 24 Install screening/fencing along the north property line of the northern city parking lot. 25 Provide traffic calming along Range Ave for safer pedestrian circulation.

16 Enhance the character of the existing Livingston Arts Council sign to showcase their presence

in the civic block. Install large banners or artwork on façades.

17 Install tall sculpture artwork along the southside of the Livingston Arts Council building 18 Add trees and other landscaping around the Livingston Arts Council building

19 To the east of the Livingston Arts Council building, install continuous walkway connecting the

northernmost public parking lot to the rear entrance of City Hall.

20 Install screen fencing, lighting and landscaping along the city’s western property line to further

delineate the pedestrian pathway.

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Future improvements

Range Ave & Railroad Ave - S.E. View Add movable seating to existing paved patio at the corner of Range Ave & Railroad Ave, with bollards or other enclosure added around patio. This image also shows new poles.

Railroad Ave - West View This image shows Railroad Avenue as a “festival street� with string lights. The street could also be used for special events which may extend into the City Hall lot to further unite it with the Train Station Park and for civic activities.

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Hummell St - North View

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This image shows a new branding signage site entering from S Range Ave across the railroad tracks. While this view doesn’t show all planned enhancements, it does reflect the removable bollards, signage, and festival lighting.

Train Station - City Hall View From the train station platform, this shows the concepts of the driveway alteration, power pole removal and permanent seating.

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Hummell St & Railroad - N.W. View This corner treatment consists of a covered multiuse shelter that will help enclose the parking lot and provide a physical and visual boundary element. For daily use, this shelter can provide parking but can be easily used for vendor and performing space as well.

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train station park area

Northern Public Lot - South View This image shows a pedestrian connection from the northern most public parking lot to City Hall along the western side of the Arts Council. This will allow for the improvement of pedestrian and vehicular circulation.

Hummel St - Arts Council View Enhancing the visual appeal of the Arts Council building will improve its prominence and better anchor the civic uses at this location. Enhancements include sculptural art, landscaping and branded signage. 17


1 Southwest Corner of City Hall - NE View Structure is proposed for the use of a recurring farmers market or festival vendor spaces. This structure provides covered parking for City Hall. Image #2 shows the structure in use.

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Tri-Centennial Place Parking Lot (City Park New Orleans, LA)

Green parking lots incorporate permeable or semi-permeable paving and porous design techniques to reduce stormwater runoff volume. In addition to permeable pavement, they often reduce or eliminate curbing and include extensive landscaping which treats runoff and improves the appearance of the parking lot while also improving water quality by filtering and removing pollutants from stormwater.

Los Angeles Zoo 19

Green parking lots provide on-site stormwater management by allowing infiltration of runoff into the ground during storm events, greatly reducing runoff volume and rate. They may completely eliminate runoff from small storm events and have the ability to capture as much as 50-80 percent of runoff from larger events.


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Forest Community Park (Baton Rouge, LA)

In addition to engineered design solutions, green

parking lots may also incorporate local codes designed to minimize the land area devoted to parking. This may include reduced parking stall dimensions, shared parking arrangements, and/ or reductions in the minimum number of parking spaces required.

Green parking lots improve water quality, increase ground water supply, and reduce the urban heat island effect. Their environmental impact is considerable, with the Environmental Protection Agency estimating that porous pavement can remove 65-100 percent of sediment, metals, and other pollutants. http://nrcsolutions.org/solution-4/

Olympic College Parking Garden (Bremerton, WA) 20


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The Urban Harvest Farmers Market (Houston, TX)

Public markets are not just places of commerce. From increasing access to fresh, healthy food to providing important revenue streams, markets positively impact local businesses, governments and residents. Perhaps most important is the way markets serve as public gathering places for people from different ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic communities. As one of the few places where people comfortably gather and meet, markets are our neighborhoods’ original civic centers.

Gretna Louisiana Farmers Market (Gretna, LA) 21

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Eno River Farmers Market (Hillsboro, NC)

Great markets can spark urban revitalization, foster community diversity, and improve public health.

Across the globe, we’re on the verge of a new era of market cities, with expansive networks to connect people and places. https://www.pps.org/category/public-markets

Abita Springs Farmers Market (Abita Springs, LA) 22


p o c k e t Paley Park (New York, NY)

A pocket park is a small outdoor space, usually no more than Ÿ of an acre, most often located in an urban area surrounded by commercial buildings. They are also called vest pocket parks, a term first used in the 1960’s.

Greenacre Park (New York, NY) 23


p a r k s Pocket Park on Main Street (Texarkana, AR)

Pocket parks are urban open spaces on a small-scale and provide a safe and inviting environment for surrounding community members. They also meet a variety of needs and functions, including: small event space, play areas for children, spaces for relaxing or meeting friends, taking lunch breaks, etc. Successful “pocket parks� have four key qualities: they are accessible; allow people to engage in activities; are comfortable spaces and have a good image; and finally, are sociable places: one where people meet each other and take people to when they come to visit. (National Parks and Recreation Association) https://www. nrpa.org/contentassets/f768428a39aa4035ae55b2aaff372617/pocket-parks.pdf

John F. Collins Park (Philadelphia, PA) 24


t r a f f i c St. Paul Minnesota St (St Paul, MN)

Traffic calming is a system of design and management strategies that aim to balance traffic on streets with other uses. It is founded on the idea that streets should help create and preserve a sense of place, that their purpose is for people to walk, stroll, look, gaze, meet, play, shop and even work alongside cars - but not be dominated by them. The tools of traffic calming take a different approach from treating the street only for vehicles passing through. They include techniques designed to lessen the impact of motor vehicle traffic by slowing it down, or literally “calming� it. This helps build human-scale places and an environment friendly to people on bike and foot.

NW 21st St Ave West (Portland, OR) 25


c a l m i n g Textured Pedestrian Crossing

Besides its power to improve the livability of a place, traffic calming can be applied inexpensively and flexibly. Traffic calming can be employed by painting lines, colors and patterns; using planters, bollards and other removable barriers; eliminating or adding parking; or installing sidewalk extensions or similar structures with temporary materials. Regardless of what traffic-calming action is undertaken, the benefit to a community is greater when the technical improvements are strengthened by visual enhancements like trees, flowers and other amenities. https://www.pps.org/article/livememtraffic

Winslow Way (Bainbridge Island, WA) 26


f e s t i v a l The Sarasota Chalk Festival (Venice, FL)

A festival street promotes a sense of community by allowing a street to be closed to traffic on multiple occasions during the year for pedestrian-focused special events. Festival streets allow for a broader use than transportation such as markets, community celebration, and recreation. New York City’s Department of Transportation created a Sustainable Streets strategic plan, released in 2008, which includes a focus on recognizing “streets as vital public places that foster social and economic activity, in addition to their more traditional roles as corridors for travel.” This document outlined a series of policy and programmatic priorities to “make our streets great destinations.

The Essex Street Pedestrian Mall (Salem, MA) 27


s t r e e t s Pitt Street Mall (Sydney, Australia)

These types of improvements showcase the street as a public space that can allow for vehicular travel but can easily be converted to a civic gathering space. https://www.pps.org/article/actions-streets-places-government-makes-happen

Festival streets may have elements such as special lighting, pavement treatments, art, landscaping and removable bollards.

Fulton Street Pedestrian Mall (New Orleans, LA) 28


The Amite River Basin Watershed occupies 1,884 square miles and covers portions of seven parishes in Louisiana (including Livingston Parish) and two counties in Mississippi. The Amite and Comite Rivers converge in the City of Denham Springs. This river convergence coupled with heavy rains and hurricanes have resulted in multiple flood events in the City of Denham Springs over the years. The previous flood of record in April 1983 occurred when approximately 10 inches of rain flooded 3,025 homes in Livingston Parish. In August 2016 over 24 inches of rain fell in Denham Springs causing even greater devastation. The August 2016 flood exceeded the record level of the Amite River by nearly 5 feet. The river rose faster and higher than projected. A long term community recovery plan, based on community input after the August 2016 Flood, was developed by the City with the help of FEMA, state and local partners.

Recent Flood Events 1977 Flood 1983 Flood (prior flood of record) 1985 Hurricane Juan 1992 Hurricane Andrew 2001 Tropical Storm Allison 2002 Tropical Storm Isidore 2005 Hurricane Katrina 2005 Hurricane Rita 2008 Hurricane Gustav 2012 Hurricane Isaac

Denham Strong provides project and policy guidance in the following areas: Community Planning, Housing, Health and Social Services, Economic Development, Infrastructure, and Natural and Cultural Resources. Through the implementation of Denham Strong, the City of Denham Springs will become a stronger more resilient community. This project which supports the revitalization of the Main Street activity center is a strategy of Denham Strong.

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resilience


amite river context

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City of Denham Springs Contact Information: Jeanette Clark jclark@cityofdenhamsprings.com City of Denham Springs Community Recovery Coordinator 116 N Range Ave Denham Springs, LA 70726 Office (225)667-8332

Denham Strong

Capital Region Planning Commission

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