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LSU Lakes restoration project update

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BATON ROUGE - Another box was checked off for the LSU lakes restoration project on Wednesday.

The East Baton Rouge Metro Council finalized a vote to put forward funds towards the project's design and construction.

The measure allows Mayor-President Sharron Weston Broome to enter an agreement with other stakeholders in the project.

"We are definitely at the table along with all the other partners. We believe this was a huge opportunity to make sure that different layers of funding and everyone necessary to come together to make this happen," Councilwoman Tara Wicker said.

That anticipation is turning into action. Two engineering firms serving as joint project advisors, Brailsford & Dunlavey and C-S-R-S, were selected by the LSU Real Estate and Facilities Foundation last week. A contract with the firms is currently being hashed out.

"A lot of this will be putting together exactly how to design and build a project. And secondly is how to sequence what we're doing relative to the funds that are available," Rob Stuart with the LSU Foundation said last week.

The project includes extensive landscape architecture improvements and restoring the lakes' health. 

It's slated to cost around $50 million and will be founded by half a dozen organizations including the City-Parish, LSU and the state.

"This is something that's been anticipated for a very long time. People are just concerned about the lakes. They're a beautiful asset to our community and something that we definitely want to make sure we preserve," Wicker said.

LSU wants the project advisors to have a design plan laid out by the spring. Officials said they'll hopefully begin the process of dredging the lakes by January of 2021.

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