Residents get glimpse into future of Earl K. Long site

Residents get glimpse into future of Earl K. Long site
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With the old Earl K. Long Hospital now gone, folks living around 58255 Airline Highway are looking ahead at what could rise from the rubble.

"It's very important for the community to be stakeholders in the future of 5825 Airline Highway," said State Senator Sharon Weston Broome. "It's also important that you have a plan when you seek out developers in terms of what a community would like to see here."

The first ideas for a plan moving forward were born from a community brainstorming event back in the spring. Residents got to weigh in on what they did and did not want at the site.

Some of the top requests were for housing, a grocery store and health care facilities. Then, LSU design students used those ideas as a guide to create two concept designs.

Both designs show the 16 acres filled with retail space, a library and educational training facilities. One also includes a grocery store and a movie theater.

"I just hope that they do something good for this area," said Tyrone Torrence about the designs.

Like many of those living around the site, Torrence said the area still needs more health care access. However, he also said a grocery story is another much needed resource.

"We don't have anything here," said Torrence. "In Scotlandville, they don't have anything. So, a neighborhood grocery or a Walmart grocery store would be a great addition to this area for a lot of people."

The concept designs are far from a final draft, and residents can again weigh in and make suggestions. However, they help show the potential of what could be, and that's something community leaders say many people need to see. Torrence said he's only 50 percent confident that any project will survive to fruition.

"This part of the North Baton Rouge corridor has a lot of opportunities for development, unfortunately, we don't get the attention in this area as it relates to economic growth, new developments," said Broome. "We want to say we're open and we're ready for people to come and invest in this area as well."

Moving forward, community leaders will take the ideas and look for a developer to bring it to life. It could be several years though before residents actually see any construction.

Residents interested in the development of the site can keep updated with the progress and contact those involved by clicking HERE.

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