BREC set to receive recommendations for Baton Rouge Zoo's future

BREC set to receive recommendations for Baton Rouge Zoo's future
BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The BREC Commission will be presented recommendations about what to do regarding the future of the Baton Rouge Zoo.

The recommendations and a report will be presented by Schultz & Williams Thursday night at the commission's meeting.

The study recommends removing the zoo from its current location on Thomas Road to another site, and to continuing to look into two sites and any others that could be the future location of the zoo.

The two alternative sites listed in the report are BREC's Airline Highway Park and the "Nicholson Corridor Zone," which is an area of undeveloped land near Hwy 30 and Bluebonnet Blvd.

There are also recommendations to update a feasibility study that was released in May 2015 and launch a formal plan for community input.

"This planning project has focused on defining how the new Zoo can provide the best and highest use to the largest and broadest audience," said Rick Biddle, vice president of Schultz & Williams. "The right location is critical for achieving the tremendous community and economic impacts the new Baton Rouge Zoo can have on the Parish."

Schultz & Williams and CLR Design has spent the past nine months doing a full assessment of the current zoo site and looking into other potential sites within the parish.

"We certainly hope that BREC ultimately accepts our recommendations" said Biddle. "Baton Rouge deserves a great Zoo and what we've found in the past year of research is that the vision is well within reach, as long as there is willingness by leadership to make that vision a reality. BREC has an opportunity right now - to embrace change and position the Zoo for a dynamic, sustainable future that will play an even larger role for East Baton Rouge Parish and the region as a whole."

The commissioners will be asked to only accept the report at Thursday's meeting. So far, there has not been a request to formally approve the recommendations from the report or vote on moving the zoo.

After the commission accepts the report, BREC staff will be work on developing a final recommendation for the commission based on the report's findings.

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