BREC considers extending lifeline to Gus Young Pool

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A BREC joint-committee agreed on a plan Wednesday that would allow for a water feature to be built at the Gus Young Park after the old pool is filled in, which will happen in a matter of weeks.

The plan includes a public-private partnership, where the community pays for the new pool or aquatic feature on the park's land.

The funds must be gathered by the end of three years, and the feature must be built by the end of 2020.

"It's a great idea," said BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight. "Sometimes conflict will bring on opportunity to make something even better than what you first imagined."

If the community chooses to build a pool, the price tag could be more than $500,000.

East Baton Rouge Metro Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle, who has met with BREC leaders in recent days, said she is already reaching out to people to gather money.

"A lot of philanthropists said they would step up and help me," said Marcelle.

The community would also have to cover the cost for maintenance. For a pool, that could be over $90,000 each year. By comparison, the annual costs for a splash pad, which had previously been considered by BREC for the site, is around $7,000.

NAACP representative Alfreda Tillman Bester called Wednesday's plan a good first step, though still feels the community should not have to shoulder the cost.

"BREC has not committed to adequately provide funding to the Gus Young community," Bester said. "Those children should see that their BREC is concerned, not just about the children in the more affluent parts of town, but they're concerned about all children."

The plan to shut down the Gus Young Pool dates back to 2007, when BREC decide to focus on larger community parks rather than neighborhood pools. Three neighborhood pools have already been closed.

The proposal goes to the full BREC Commission who will vote on whether to approve the measure at their meeting on Thursday, July 23.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.