In March, 2012, Baton Rouge area residents traveled to Louisville, Kentucky for the seventh Canvas Workshop. This Workshop is a joint effort between BRAC and the office of Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Melvin "Kip" Holden. Local business and community leaders traveled to Louisville for three days and two nights to gather insights and inspiration to be utilized in the Capital Region.
- One of the ten best cities for commuters - Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine
- Second-best housing market in the United States - Forbes.com
- One of the ten best cities for families, education, and recreation - Parenting.com
- Fortieth-most literate city in America - Central Connecticut State University
- Fourteenth best city for business and careers - Forbes
- One of North America's small cities of the future - Foreign Direct Investment magazine
- Among the ten best college towns - Livability.com
- Fourth-most photo-friendly city in America - Popular Photography magazine
- One of America's top twenty-five bicycle-friendly cities - Bicycling Magazine
- One of the 100 safest cities in America - FreeBackgroundChecksUSA.com
- Top twenty-five of U.S. cities with the most ENERGY STAR buildings as reported by the EPA
To many, Louisville is simply the home to the Kentucky Derby and Louisville Slugger. A deeper look, however, reveals a vibrant economic development-focused community, who believes that growth must be created through a number of different components. One of these components is a fully functional and funded mass transit system. This highly relevant topic, during a time of restructuring within the Baton Rouge area's CATS system, emphasized the importance of a reliable mass transit system linking the region, employers, employees, and students. Shortly after the participants' return, a dedicated property tax for CATS was approved. Louisville also has one of the only talent development programs in the country, outside of the Baton Rouge area. Presenters heard about Louisville's many talent-development efforts including Louisville 101, a program for incoming residents who are unfamiliar with the area or would like to re-familiarize themselves with the offerings of the region. Louisville is a prime example of a community transforming its downtown and riverfront to showcase itself and make itself attractive to businesses and talent professionals alike. The Louisville area also boasts a robust parks system and is very dedicated to the arts through a variety of programs. Seeing how successful these programs are encouraged Canvas participants to discuss ways to bring similar projects to the Baton Rouge area. A need for a master plan for public art was identified as well as further support for bike trails and green space.
Canvas on the Move
A recap of past Canvas Workshop trips and their outcomes can be downloaded here. Past trips have resulted in developments such as BRAC's five-year regional economic development program, increased community support for Louisiana State University and Pennington Biomedical Research Center, and a new community mindset focused on maximizing the potential of the Baton Rouge metropolitan area.
Sponsors for the 2012 Canvas Workshop were as follows: