Community leaders hope Florida Corridor project will unite north and south Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE - Though the improvements to Government Street may be controversial to some, there's no doubt that the businesses there—particularly in Mid City—are thriving. Now, community leaders want to take that success and apply it to the Florida Corridor.
Estuardo Orantes has owned Carpet World on Florida Boulevard for seven years. He says the Florida Corridor plan is needed.
"I love it. I think that's what Baton Rouge needs. This area is growing. The restaurants, the bar scene, the stores, so I think it's a really good idea," he said.
The Florida Corridor is a 12-mile stretch of road spanning from the Mississippi River all the way to the Amite River.
Because of its length, it borders about 20 diverse neighborhoods. The goal of the plan is to unite them all.
"Think of an eraser," project spokesperson Perry Franklin said. "We want this project to be the eraser that erases the divide between north and south Baton Rouge. We want this to be a place where both north and south Baton Rouge unite, meet, consume goods and services that are not there today. "
Currently, they are in the very early stages of planning and gathering input from the public. They say the purpose of the plan is to establish a path for economic development in an attempt to unify the communities surrounding the corridor. The plan will include land use, urban design and community development.
"Right now, for those who haven't taken a drive down Florida—you'd be amazed. Some of our newer charter schools have located themselves on Florida Boulevard for a reason. It's still a very highly visible corridor, it's a very highly traveled corridor. The infrastructure is in place."
For Orantes, this is all good news.
"Once you get more people coming to this area, my business should bring more clients into my store," Orantes said.
There is one more community meeting Thursday at the BREC ballroom on Florida Boulevard from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
You can get more information on the plan here.