Mayor Holden nixes north Baton Rouge development idea
BATON ROUGE - The mayor vetoed a proposal to create an economic development district in north Baton Rouge.
Mayor Kip Holden denied the request Wednesday, citing vague language in how the development district would be organized and concern over the state's budget. Previously, the Metro Council unanimously approved the economic development district - which would provide tax incentives for people to establish businesses in northern communities.
The north Baton Rouge Opportunity Zone would encompass property north of Florida Blvd. within the city limits.
Metro Council member Chauna Banks, who is on board with improving the quality of life for north Baton Rouge residents calls this veto "troubling."
"He basically turned his back on North Baton Rouge," said Banks, who hopes to grow a medical district in the northern part of the parish and bring more business around the BREC Baton Rouge Zoo.
The economic development district has been discussed in various fashions recently, and has been the center of emotional debates over what some believe is racially-motivated forgetfulness about areas north of downtown and Government Street.
Councilman John Delgado, who is also running for mayor and would need the support of people in north Baton Rouge neighborhoods, sponsored the proposal on the city level.
"I am shocked and disappointed, and quite frankly, outraged," Delgado said. "A mayor who is from north Baton Rouge has taken away our chance to improve that very community."
Both Delgado and Banks say this opportunity zone wouldn't solve all problems in north Baton Rouge but it would have been a step in the right direction.
Delgado says a measure to override the mayor's veto will be on the April 27 Metro Council agenda.