What is the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance (MCRA)?
The Mid City Redevelopment Alliance (MCRA) is a non-profit organization which
serves as a catalyst, facilitator and coordinator encouraging the growth and
renewal of the Mid City region of Baton Rouge by attracting new, and retaining
current, businesses and residents. Founded in 1991 by General Health System
(parent company to the Baton Rouge General Medical Center), MCRA takes a
proactive and aggressive approach to the problems of crime and decay in Mid
At the heart of its mission is the belief that the future of the Baton Rouge community is dependent on the health and vitality of its urban center. MCRA exists to recognize tangible assets in the region that need to be supported. By matching residents with resources, advocating for aggressive reinvestment in the region, working with public and private agencies to advance the mission of the organization, as well as advocating and implementing policy changes that improve all urban areas, the organization is making a difference in Baton Rouge’s city center.
With its boundaries at Choctaw Drive and Interstate 10 to the north and south respectively, as well as Interstate 110 and North Foster Drive to the west and east, Mid City is home to such landmarks as Baton Rouge General Medical Center-Mid City, Baton Rouge Magnet High School, and Sacred Heart Catholic Church/School. The region also includes, among many others, the historic neighborhoods of Ogden Park, Bernard Terrace and the Garden District.
What services are offered through MCRA?
The Alliance's Work Focuses on Three Main Areas:
The Home Ownership Center
The Home Ownership Center (HOC)
A community resource providing comprehensive home buying workshops as well as financial education and affordable housing assistance for people looking to better manage their money and/or own their own home. Primarily intended for low- to moderate-income families, the HOC is a program providing homebuyer and financial literacy services free of charge. Staffed by professional counselors, the HOC offers:
- Links to Down-payment Assistance Programs
An annual tour of affordable homes currently for sale in the Mid City region. Held in conjunction with an affordable housing fair with presentations by various local lenders. The event promotes numerous incentives available for buyers interested in purchasing a home in Mid City.
The office responsible for repairing the homes of needy families, producing affordable housing, developing residential and business partnerships through membership in civic associations, as well as providing residents with the tools and consulting resources they need for home maintenance. Some of the programs offered include:
FIXUP! Mid City
An all-volunteer repair project staged once a year with the sponsorship and participation of corporate and community organizations. Its objective is the repair of homes for low-income, elderly and disabled residents, as well as small businesses. The program seeks to build a vital sense of community while bringing diverse groups of volunteers into Mid City neighborhoods. Since 1993, over 250 homes, 6 schools and 7 non-profit agencies have been repaired by over 12,000 corporate and community volunteers through this initiative. MCRA has recently brought a new dynamic to FIXUP! by instituting a block concept for the program. All homes and volunteers are concentrated in the same neighborhood. The block concept creates more of a community event with volunteers, as well as homeowners and their families, all participating and interacting with one another.
A companion effort to FIXUP! providing eligible families and small businesses with the opportunity to apply for a materials grant to make exterior improvements to their property themselves. Through this initiative, recipients rely on the help of family, friends and neighbors with the program providing material support. The goal of this effort is to rekindle neighborhood pride and develop grassroots networks. Improvements made possible through NeighborGrants include house painting, landscaping, security lights, wheel chair ramps and minor exterior repairs.
The creation of affordable housing
An effort to increase the region’s stock of quality, affordable homes in the Mid City region. This initiative includes the rehabilitation of old homes as well as the construction of new ones with the goal of bringing new life to aging Mid City neighborhoods.
A grassroots, network-building initiative that partners with volunteers, businesses, churches, schools and residents to address community needs and support community development projects in the Mid City region.
Sweet Olive Rescue
Sweet Olive Cemetery, located in the heart of Mid City, is the oldest African-American cemetery in Baton Rouge. The Community Development office supports the revitalization of this important cultural landmark by organizing volunteer clean-ups and assisting in the grant-writing process. The goal of this project is to enhance the appearance, safety and overall atmosphere of the cemetery, creating a safer, more attractive environment for residents, visitors and tourists.
An effort to support existing businesses and attract new investment into the
Mid City region. With a goal toward identifying opportunities for new growth and
expansion, this initiative works with business owners on strategies to build
their businesses, makes presentations to prospective employers interested in
locating to the area, and presses for increased incentives to attract investment
into urban areas. Some of its efforts include:
The Government Street Master Action Plan (GoMAP!)
Born out of the dedication and perseverance of Government Street merchants, GoMAP! is the fruition of a steadfast belief that the Government Street corridor is an important legacy for the Baton Rouge area, as well as a contemporary and vibrant commercial and residential district. Commissioned in 2002, the initiative addresses issues such as traffic calming, parking, landscaping, signage and pedestrian circulation. In addition, MCRA partners with the organization Mid City Merchants on all Government Street planning efforts.
FACELIFT! Mid City
A matching grant program administered by MCRA for commercial and office building façade improvements. The program’s target area is the Government Street corridor from Interstate 110 to Jefferson Highway. The goal of the program is to facilitate economic revitalization of this important corridor while improving the visual appearance of individual properties along it. FACELIFT! projects include improvements to awnings, canopies, lighting, windows and doors, signage, landscaping, public art and murals and/or façades. The program is an implementation phase of the Government Street Master Action Plan (GoMAP!). Improvements must correspond with GoMAP! principles and design guidelines set forth in the Government Street Urban Design Overlay District. Improvements receiving grant awards must have a strong visual impact along the corridor and serve as an example to other merchants for planning improvements to their own businesses.
Destination: Mid City
MCRA’s monthly e-newsletter for Mid City residents and merchants. Through the promotion events, planning efforts and development in the Mid City region, the newsletter is a tangible effort that keeps stakeholders up-to-date on all Mid City activities. From art hops to groundbreakings, it serves as a reminder that the region is a vibrant and dynamic community.
Partnership with Mid City Merchants along Government Street
MCRA partners with Mid City Merchants on all planning initiatives along the Government Street corridor. Established in 1994, the Mid City Merchants bring together civic-minded business owners and organizations to contribute to this unique Mid City arts, design and shopping district. Most members’ businesses are locally owned and operated.
The regional Master Action Plan (MAP)
An organizational roadmap for redevelopment of the heart of Mid City with planning goals for designated districts exhibiting coherent characteristics. The plan lays out existing conditions, strengths, weaknesses and potential projects for each identified district. It also addresses transportation and land development issues, and outlines MAP priorities, timelines and project resources.
Promotion of incentive programs to current and proposed businesses
Among other things, MCRA’s Economic Development office seeks to retain existing, and attract new, businesses to the Mid City region through an effort to locate economic incentives that encourage business owners to contribute to revitalization of the area.
Research assistance for developers
In an effort to support new development in the Mid City region and renewal of it communities, MCRA offers those seeking or proposing new projects essential resources from commercial real estate listings, adjudicated property roles, property ownership information, legal descriptions, maps, photographs, crime statistics and demographic information. A goal of MCRA’s Economic Development office is to be the primary resource for both commercial and residential developers interested in investing in Mid City region.
In conjunction with our community development initiative, MCRA hosts an annual family-oriented Neighborhood Celebration for residents living in our Mid City Target Neighborhood. The event features fun activities and games, educational public service exhibits and festival food as a way for MCRA to celebrate Mid City residents and create a stronger neighborhood community.
An annual event created to honor an outstanding citizen of the Mid City community for their work and commitment to the Mid City region of Baton Rouge.
Some MCRA Partners
- Baton Rouge General Medical Center
- Mid City Historical Cemeteries Coalition
- Baton Rouge Area Foundation
- Baton Rouge Asset Building Coalition
- Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation
- Caleb Community Development Corporation
- Baton Rouge City-Parish Office of Community Development
- East Baton Rouge Mortgage Finance Authority
- Louisiana Department of Economic Development
- Louisiana Department of Social Services
- U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Where do I go for more information on MCRA or any of its programs?
Mid-City Redevelopment Alliance
419 North 19th Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Phone: (225) 346-1000 Fax: (225) 344-6171
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30am till 5:00pm.