Mitchell J. Silver opened the Louisiana Smart Growth Summit last night with constructive criticism of the capital city and its leaders. Silver serves in the Department of City Planning in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“Baton Rouge, you’re not keeping your young people. They’re leaving. They go to school - LSU, Southern - get a great education, and say, 'I don’t like this place. There’s no opportunity for me,'" said Silver.
Conversely, Silver said young people are attracted to Raleigh for its academic institutions and stay after graduation. He said Louisiana college grads leaving in droves is evidence of a lack of coordinated work among government, businesses and universities to create new jobs and opportunities for residents.
Mayor-President Kip Holden was in the audience for Silver’s speech. Before Silver took the stage, Holden called upon leaders in the room to make the kinds of changes Silver suggests for the city.
"We have to be agents of change," said Holden "And yes, you’re going to run into those mountains sometimes, but you have to climb them.”
The Smart Growth Summit continues through Wednesday.