Perkins overpass businesses unveil plans for new green space
BATON ROUGE - The Perkins Road overpass area is a thriving community that attracts hundreds of patrons with food, music and good times each week.
But, business owners say, the small stretch of the community has been plagued for far too long with unsafe conditions and bad parking, leading them to form a solution amongst themselves.
“There’s a huge gap in connectivity with the overpass. There’s a garden district and all of the area on the other side and then all of this thriving business over here and the overpass is just not a very safe way to get from side to side," said Jenni Peters with Varsity Sports.
The businesses in the area have hired Carbo Landscape Architecture to draw up a plan to restore the now gray, industrial pathway from Reymond Avenue to Christian Street with a more vibrant look and upgraded safety measures. Key features of the $2.2 million project will include a pedestrian plaza, ADA ramps, improved lighting and more.
“If we could reduce some of the parking, increase the walkability, we could do things like farmer’s markets or arts markets, and a lot of people could access the businesses around here that right now don’t feel inaccessible because of the lack of safety," said Adrian Owens-Jones, who is working with project organizers.
Project organizers presented their ideas to city officials Tuesday at a press conference, laying out everything they've done so far. Now, they're looking to the city-parish for funding.
“There’s funding that’s about $45 million that are available to be able to provide safe walking areas… beautification type projects," said Fred Raiford, with EBR Transportation and Drainage. “To be able to do this type of project and if there’s local funding involved then it will be the responsibility of the city.”
The city has already committed to one part; fixing the railroad crossing that runs through the projected path. That alone will cost upwards of $800,000 according to Raiford.
Click here for more information about the Underpass Project.
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