BR lakes plan switches gears to finding money
BATON ROUGE - The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is moving toward creating construction documents now that the Baton Rouge lakes master plan is in place.
BRAF announced plans to dredge the shallow lakes a few feet deeper to improve water quality. Plans also call for bike trails and lighting around the lakes. BRAF Executive Vice President John Spain says the project could get around $3 million from the state in the next few months. That money would be a good start for the $40 million project.
"We don't really need anymore right now," he said. "The work is to do the construction documents to start the permitting with core of engineers to so we can actually do the work out here. Finish up on that, and then a year, year-and-a-half down the round we'll be ready to actually need the money to maybe get something started."
Spain says BRAF will seek private money, but at some point it may come down to LSU, BREC and the city of Baton Rouge to find the rest of the money.
"There's no one that wants the lakes to die, and if you don't do something they will continue to decay. Given enough time they will divert back to a cypress swamp. That could be 10 years or 20 years," said Spain. "There's no question that no one's going to let that happen. This is not easy. We'll have to find the money, but it will absolutely happen. It has to."
Spain says dredging could start as early as 2018.