BREC approves money for new facilities
BATON ROUGE - Three new BREC projects are underway just months after they lost the vote to move the Baton Rouge Zoo.
Last week, BREC commissioners approved a little over $100,000 for drawings of renovations at Greenwood Community Park, Airline Highway Park, and Memorial Stadium.
"We already had in our strategic plan an area that specifically focuses on recreation centers, it's something people had been asking us to do," says Cheryl Michelet with BREC.
Officials from the City-Parish approached BREC about the possibility of using Hazard Mitigation Grant Progam (HMGP) to fund the recreation centers, which would also serve as "safe rooms" for emergency personnel shelters.
"If a hurricane or flood hits, this will be a way to give emergency personnel a designated place, one that's built to FEMA standards that could withstand heavy winds or high water," said Michelet.
The overall project will cost taxpayers $20 million dollars but BREC says the grant would cover the majority of the cost.
"It's a little bit outside of our normal process, usually we would do the master plan first, get community input, and then start working on the design. This application is due in the middle of May, and so we've got to get these drawings done in order to get the funding," said Michelet.
If this funding is approved, Memorial Stadium will have a new sports academy that would include several basketball courts, indoor walking track, and meeting rooms.
"We are working to modernized our recreation centers, and this just seems like a perfect opportunity to make that happen," said Michelet.
All three facilities will be built to FEMA standards to be able to withstand wind pressure and FEMA's flood elevation requirements.