With the contributions of more than 400 diverse participants at the Ruston 21 Community Visioning Day and the continuing exchange of ideas, we have identified clearly shared values and expectations. Additional meetings with administration, aldermen, commissioners and civic leaders have underscored the importance of these core principles. These broadly held views form the following community guidelines for the Ruston 21 Plan:
1. Develop Our Community Character
As Ruston grows, we will maintain and enhance our unique character – historic, faith-based, with unity of purpose and quiet confidence. We are committed to a strong downtown as the heart of the city with mixed-use development and civic facilities designed to create a true community destination.
2. Keep Ruston a Leader
We will build upon Ruston’s reputation as a leader in higher education, commerce and culture. We will encourage our tradition of entrepreneurship by embracing new opportunities for applied technology and making considered choices to develop new generations of civic leaders. We will be innovative: encouraging growth while enhancing our community’s natural environment.
Ruston should maintain its unique balance: big city amenities with small town convenience, small town quality of life with global access, and quality development both North and South of I-20. We will encourage planned development which complements the city’s attractive and defining tree canopy.
4. Be a City of Opportunity
We will promote a supportive business climate, leveraging the opportunities provided at the university level to encourage entrepreneurial ventures while taking full advantage of our strategic location on the I-20 information corridor. We will target appropriate development in the community core, the highway 167 corridor and the I-20 corridor.
We will plan transportation for ease of access, working to reroute regional truck traffic while preserving avenues to the community core. We will be more pedestrian friendly, providing alternative transportation choices, encouraging pedestrian and bicycle paths and expanding our park system. We will maintain open access to governmental leadership: working to streamline regulation while protecting the public interest.
We will use master planning as a means to strengthen community connections, including expanded ties between the city and universities, renewed cooperation between city and regional political entities, development of public private partnerships for community benefit, and coordination of volunteer efforts for maximum impact. We will build economic, civic and communication bridges among all parts of Ruston.
We expect excellence in our educational system and civic endeavors. We will work to develop universal pride in property ownership. We will reduce blighted property and establish gateways through regulation of signage and landscaping, creating an even cleaner, safer and more livable community.
Community Guidelines are broadly held and therefore must form the foundation for any proposed planning activities, provide the value system upon which land use regulation is promulgated, and be the benchmark for evaluation as choices are encountered that will direct the course of community development in Ruston. Economic development, marketing and branding efforts must recognize the strong value system that undergirds and unites the community. These principles have served the community well and provide a broad framework upon which the future of the City must be built.