Mid City Redevelopment Alliance Brings on New Talent to Tackle Community Engagement in World of Social Distancing, Thirty Year Anniversary of Mid City, Redevelopment of Florida Blvd.
The former Director of the Electric Depot, Mid City’s largest public-private partnership and mixed-use development, is returning to Mid City Redevelopment Alliance (MCRA) to serve as the Director of Community Relations.
Marlee Pittman left her role as MCRA’s Community Engagement Manager in 2019 to head up the Electric Depot, which was built as a partnership between several local investors and Build BR to uplift an economic corridor and the surrounding neighborhoods. Ms. Pittman explained, “I believed in the mission of the development, and the positive impact it could have on Mid City longterm.” With the future of public spaces like the Depot uncertain during COVID 19, though, she’s returned to Baton Rouge’s largest community development nonprofit to take on an even bigger role.
Community Engagement During COVID
As the Director of Community Relations, she’ll oversee marketing and outreach efforts for the entire organization. “COVID 19 has brought into question traditional community engagement models, so finding ways to use digital outreach that is accessible to all neighborhoods, all socioeconomic levels, and all ages will be my top priority” according to Ms. Pittman
Sam Sanders, the longtime Executive Director of the organization, added that “As founder of the Mid City Committee and Board Member for both Mid City Merchants and Mid City Gras, Marlee has unparalleled relationships with Mid City neighborhoods, businesses, and stakeholders. We’re excited to have her back on board as the organization takes on two big initiatives."
Thirty Year Anniversary of Mid City
Next year marks the thirty year anniversary not just of the founding of MCRA and their long-time partner, Mid City Merchants (MCM), but of the name “Mid City” to describe the semi-urban community nestled between North Baton Rouge and South Baton Rouge, between downtown and Baton Rouge’s more suburban neighborhoods. Both MCRA and MCM plan to mark the anniversary and the coming of age of their community with a huge event and fundraiser.
One of the biggest accomplishments in Mid City over the past 30 years? Government St.
The Government St. Master Action Plan, or GoMAP, was originally led by both organizations in the late 90’s. The dream of a 21st century corridor in Baton Rouge began to take shape after a Better Block demonstration in 2013 with a host of partners including the Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX), the Mayor-President’s FutureBR Implementation Team, Stantec (formerly ABMB), Baton Rouge Area Chamber, BR Walls Project, Build BR, and countless volunteers.
Redevelopment of Florida Blvd.
Now that construction on many of the projects outlined in GoMAP is scheduled to be completed by Barber Brothers before the end of the year, the organization is excited to turn their attention to the other major commercial corridor in their footprint, Florida Blvd, which serves as the de facto boundary line in our city between North and South Baton Rouge. Marlee Pittman was brought on to spearhead that effort and according to her, “get some traction where progress has been slow to materialize.”
She’ll have help, with groups like CPEX, Build BR, and Mid City Merchants excited at the prospect, not to mention the strength of the Baton Rouge General behind the effort. We hope for Baton Rouge’s sake, she succeeds.
The mission of Mid City Redevelopment Alliance is to develop and promote the growth and renewal of Mid City Baton Rouge by attracting new and retaining current residents and businesses.