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Metro Council support of new LSU arena not unanimous ahead of vote Wednesday

4 months 1 week 2 days ago Tuesday, March 12 2024 Mar 12, 2024 March 12, 2024 6:30 PM March 12, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome is urging the Metro Council to pass an ordinance that will forge the way ahead for a new $300 million entertainment venue for the capital region.

"This collaboration serves as the blueprint for the future of Baton Rouge," Mayor Broome said in a statement Tuesday.

The project has broad support from City-Parish leaders as well as several economic development groups.

However, not everyone on the Metro Council is on board.

District 2 Metro Councilmember Chauna Banks says she will likely ask to defer the vote on the ordinance Wednesday.

The entire project can only move forward if the Metro Council agrees to restrict the types of events hosted by the River Center. Developers have stated they do not want the competition.

As a City-Parish controlled facility, Banks believes the council should be expanding the River Center, not restricting it.

"I believe priority should be the River Center. It's basically cutting off it's nose to spite its face for LSU."

She also finds issue with the fact that the project is seemingly so far along without the input of surrounding stakeholders like Southern University.

"If we're going to be making everything shiny and fancy, let's bring everybody to the table."

The project has the full support of the mayor and at least six metro council members who sponsored the ordinance, including Carolyn Colemanwhose district includes the River Center.

BRAC, BRAF, Visit Baton Rouge, LSU athletics and the Tiger Athletic Foundation have all given their endorsements as well. The common sentiment is that a new large-scale entertainment venue would be beneficial to everyone in the capital region.

But Banks doesn't see it that way. She believes the project will mostly benefit the LSU area.

"There are some people who would never go to LSU for an event because of price point, because of transportation, because it's not part of their culture. If it's going to be promoted as something that benefits all of us, then all means Southern University, it means the River Center and it means LSU."

The Metro Council will vote on the ordinance Wednesday. The item is also open for public comment.

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