St. Francisville Area Foundation's Sustainable Riverfront Redevelopment
St. Francisville’s historic charm, lush beauty and friendly people are well-known across Louisiana and the country, and maintaining those characteristics are an important consideration as the town embraces its future. Last summer, the St. Francisville Area Foundation kicked off a community master planning process that aims to establish new housing, retail and recreational opportunities in the heart of town on 90 acres overlooking the Mississippi River.
“Our intention with this project has always been to maintain what everyone loves about the community while guiding development on things we need, including additional housing,” says Lauren Field, executive director of the St. Francisville Area Foundation.
The first phase of the project includes converting land owned by the West Feliciana School Board to a carefully designed residential neighborhood to be named Pecan Grove Bluff. An adjacent parcel of land owned by the St. Francisville Area Foundation will be transformed into additional housing situated into the hillside called Cannery Cottages.
The second phase of the project focuses on converting the former Princeville sweet potato canning factory to a community marketplace and recreational hub.
The foundation worked with the Center for Planning Excellence and Pittsburgh-based design firm, Urban Design Associates (UDA) to create a preliminary study and master plan for the sites. Last July, UDA lead three days of local community design sessions resulting in the Pecan Grove and Cannery Master Plan Workshop Summary.
Field says that one of the goals of the project is to grow the parish’s housing market in a manner that respects the area’s brand and natural beauty. The need for more housing is clear; more than 3,500 workers who are currently employed in the parish live outside of the parish. To ensure Pecan Grove Bluff and the Cannery Cottages are developed responsibly, the plan recommends a diversity of housing, ample greenspace and views of the Mississippi River. Developers will be required to follow specific guidelines as they bring these projects to life.
“We want to make sure these are not cookie cutter neighborhoods that are too dense or overdeveloped,” says Field. “This is about doing things the way we have always done them in St. Francisville, very carefully."
This summer, the West Feliciana School Board will identify a broker to help it sell the parcel of land, thus taking the first step in developing Pecan Grove Bluff.
For more information about the project, please visit the St. Francisville Area Foundation at stfrancisvilleaf.org.