BREC invested over $12M in its parks in 2018

BREC invested over $12M in its parks in 2018
The new fishing pond at BREC's Howell Community Park in Baton Rouge that was completed in 2018. (Source: Nick Gremillion)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - BREC invested over $12 million into parks throughout East Baton Rouge Parish in 2018, according to a news release from the parks and recreation department.

The money funded 14 projects that were completed last year, and the planning phases for 15 future projects.

Some of the new ament include new playgrounds, basketball courts, splash pads, fishing ponds, pavilions, drinking fountains, restrooms, walking trails.

Trail connectivity was also improved at some parks with improvements to paved and lighted walking loops and new LED lighting systems.

BREC installed and renovated ten new playgrounds, including the addition of a zipline and adventure playground at the 72-acre addition to Howell Community Park with smaller play areas at neighborhood parks such as Hartley/Vey at Gardere, Riverbend, Spain Street, Erich, Lea Sternberg and Fiesta Parks.

Shade sails were added over the playground at Highland Community Park and benches at Jackson Community Park splash pad for cool shaded space. North Sherwood Forest Community Park has BREC’s newest splashpad raising the system’s total to seven.

Phase one of the Botanical Gardens at Independence Park was completed providing a Front Gate to the new garden promenade enhanced with the exquisite, renaissance-inspired architecture in the new butterfly and parterre garden.

The space also features a new lawn garden, connectivity to the Main Library Plaza and Garden Cafe, picnic pavilions and fully renovated Garden Center. Two new multi-use fields were welcomed to the BREC system, equipped with two scoreboards and bleachers at Milton J. Womack Park.

“As I look back on my seven-years at BREC, my favorite memories involve the many ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings we held to celebrate our progress in implementing the Imagine Your Parks 2 strategic plan.
BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight

Construction has begun at Church Street and Lovett Road Community Parks and will soon start at Jackson Community Park to expand and air condition the recreation centers along with full restoration after the flood in 2016.

The CAPP trails system continues to grow, with a nearly completed pedestrian and bike trail crossing over the Wards Creek bridge connecting two spans of the trail along Bluebonnet and Siegen near the new Ochsner Surgical Center, and an addition of BREC’s second canoe and kayak launch at Manchac Park connecting the blueway to the Highland Road.

Last year, BREC also hired two nationally renowned designs teams to create new master plans for the Baton Rouge Zoo and Greenwood Community Park. The first public meetings for those plans will be held in January.

BREC officials are awaiting a response from FEMA on whether the federal agency will approve a plan to create safe rooms for first responders that will also serve as state-of-the-art recreations centers for first responders at Airline Highway, Memorial Stadium and Greenwood Community Park.

Construction is also set to begin on a Boys and Girls Clubhouse at Howell Community Park and the elevation of the swimming pool and renovated pool house.

For more information about BREC’s completed and upcoming projects, visit www.brec.org/ParkImprovements.

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