EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Mayor- president Sharon Weston Broome delivered her first State of the City Wednesday before the Rotary Club with standing room only.
Mayor Broome focused of four specific things in her address: the economy, traffic, flood recovery, and public safety. The mayor said more than $300 million was spent with vendors last year, but only 9 percent of that went to small businesses. It's why she said she'll soon launch a program called Equity and Business Opportunity.
"It's reaching out to businesses and giving information to small businesses, to women-owned businesses, minority, anybody who would like to access this kind of information, people who feel like they haven't had that opportunity in the past to know how to gain access to business opportunities within city-parish government specifically," said Mayor Broome.
In regards to traffic, the mayor said 21 new bridges are planned for the area with five of those getting underway later this year.
Bridges recently completed within the past two years:
- Prescott Road over Hurricane Creek
- Amelia Earhart Avenue over Corporation Canal at the Airport
- Sally Ride Avenue over Corporation Canal at the airport
- East Brookstown Drive over Hurricane Creek
- Maribel Drive over Hurricane Creek
- Morvant Road (2) over Drainage Canal
- Milldale Road over Beaver Creek
Bridges currently under construction:
- Albert Drive over Drainage Canal
- Mollylea Drive over Jones Creek
- Cuyhanga Parkway over Jones Creek
- Claycut Road over Ward Creek
- Port Hudson Pride Road over Little Sandy Creek
- Flanacher Road (A) over Bayou Baton Rouge
- East Chimes Street over Corporation Canal
Bridges already bid and starting construction in spring of 2017:
- East Garfield Street over Corporation Canal
- Taylor Street over Corporation Canal
- Lemon Road over Redwood Creek
- Greenwell Street over Roberts Canal
Bridges already bid and starting construction in fall of 2017:
- Flanacher Road (B) over Bayou Baton Rouge
Bridges to be advertised for bids in 2017:
- Lower Zachary Road Bridge over Drainage Bayou
- Barnett Cut-Off Road over Bayou Baton Rouge
- Claycut Road over Dawson Creek
- Silverleaf Avenue over Roberts Canal
- Pecos Avenue over Shoe Creek
- Strain Road over Drainage Bayou
- Old Baker Road over Drainage Bayou
- Frenchtown Road over Beaver Creek
- Bob Pettit Boulevard over Bayou Fountain
Work in the downtown area includes:
- The Baton Rouge Greenway multi-use path
- City Hall Plaza Renovations
- River Road multi-use path from North Blvd to the State Capitol
- North Blvd Town Square Phase 2
Streets and highways under construction:
- Jones Creek Road (Coursey to Tiger Bend)
- West Parker @ Burbank Intersection Improvements
Streets and highways under design:
- Dijon Drive Extension
- Water Campus Street Improvements
- Intersection improvements:
- Mickens @ Joor
- Mickens @ Hooper
- Lee @ Hyacinth
- Dalrymple @ May Street
When it comes to flood recovery, Mayor Broome said FEMA is picking up 90 percent of the tab with the city responsible for the rest, but she's trying to get even that remaining 10 percent picked up by federal dollars, so it does not come out of the city's general fund. So far, the city has been reimbursed $30 million with flood damages topping $67 million.
The mayor has yet to name her chief administrative officer, adding a national search is underway.
When it comes to the Baton Rouge Police Department, she mentioned the 22 percent d rop in the homicide rate, the lowest since 2005, but said there's something bigger that needs to be focused on. "We cannot go forward as a community without collectively addressing the critical issue of police-community relations," said Mayor Broome.
The mayor said she has had meetings with law enforcement officials and members of the community to work to close that gap between the police and people. She said she will be releasing information in regards to that in a news conference on Thursday.
There was no mention about her campaign promise to replace Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie.
She closed by asking everyone to help unify the entire parish.