Community invited to Forks of Road meeting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2009

NATCHEZ — Community input is key in bringing the Forks of the Road project to fruition.

That’s what Grover Mouton, director of the Tulane Regional Urban Design Center in the School of Architecture, has been stressing all along.

Mouton paired up with the city several months ago to bring Tulane expertise into the designing of a Forks of the Road interpretive museum at the site on St. Catherine Street.

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And when the design center was writing a grant for $20,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, which they recently received, they made sure community involvement was part of the process.

In the narrative of the grant, design center officials stated that if the grant were awarded, there would be several community workshops designated as part of the design’s process.

The first community workshop will be at 6 p.m. today in the city council chambers.

“The community is going to be heavily involved, and that’s the way it’s going to be,” Mouton said. “I want real public participation in this. It’s an extremely important project.”

Tulane officials along with city officials are looking for community input on the following:

4 Site and district analysis at the Forks of the Road.

4 Possible expansion of the current city-owned Forks site.

4 Coordination with and consideration of related ongoing projects, including a shotgun house museum being planned by the Friends of the Forks of the Road and the ongoing boundary study of the site being conducted by the National Park Service.

4 Fundraising, budgeting and economic issues.

Mouton said today’s community workshop will be the first in a series of four.

“We’re going to take the results of this, reformulate it and come back and see what we need to add,” he said.

Right now, only conceptual plans exist and nothing has been set in stone, he said.