LSU Law Professor Chris Tyson is Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s pick to lead the newly refashioned East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, which was recently granted greater authority by the Metro Council to address blight and housing in the city-parish.
Broome submitted Tyson’s name to the RDA board of commissioners in September and board members have been “percolating on it” for the past several weeks, according to RDA Board Chairman John Noland, who says Tyson seems to enjoy widespread support among commissioners.
“He is viewed favorably by the board,” Noland says. “He is smart, savvy, and we have a thin pool of talent. The mood of the board is to give him a chance and support him as best as we can.”
Broome’s office declines to comment except to confirm that the mayor recommended Tyson for the position.
“But it is the board’s decision to make,” says Broome spokesman Janene Tate.
The board next meets Oct. 19 and is expected to vote on Tyson then. Tyson, who served as coordinator for Broome’s transition team late last year, says he is honored to be considered for the position and will take a leave from LSU if approved next week by the RDA board.
“Many of the things I have worked on professionally and in my capacity at the law center intersect in the RDA, and I know this mayor and many others in the community want to see the RDA revived and active again in helping shape the landscape of our most challenged land use needs,” he says. “I’d be happy to be at the helm of that. But I don’t want to count any chickens before they’re hatched.”
At LSU, where he is the Newman Trowbridge Distinguished Professor of Law, Tyson specializes in the areas of property, real estate development, local government law and urban land use and development.
The RDA—which has struggled with funding problems for the past three years and, until recently, faced an uncertain future—was given a new mandate in September, when the Metro Council approved Broome’s plan to transfer to the agency many of the duties and funding from the Office of Community Development. Under the new realignment, the RDA will also work more closely with the East Baton Rouge Housing Authority.
Gwen Hamilton has been serving as interim CEO of the RDA since Walter Monsour stepped down from the position in late 2014.