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EBR looking to buy large swatch of land, plans to keep them vacant

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - East Baton Rouge Parish wants to buy 540 acres of vacant land across the parish and do virtually nothing with it.

East Baton Rouge Parish wants to buy 540 acres of vacant land across the parish and do...
East Baton Rouge Parish wants to buy 540 acres of vacant land across the parish and do virtually nothing with it.(WAFB)

The land sits along Wards Creek and Bayou Duplantier, it has been designated part of the parish’s watershed. Darryl Gissel, EBR’s Chief Administrative Officer said the land would serve as a buffer to prevent the tributaries from overflowing into neighborhoods and businesses.

East Baton Rouge Parish wants to buy 540 acres of vacant land across the parish and do...
East Baton Rouge Parish wants to buy 540 acres of vacant land across the parish and do virtually nothing with it.(WAFB)

“It makes sure we don’t add issues, that we don’t create issues by more construction,” Gissel said.

East Baton Rouge Parish wants to buy 540 acres of vacant land across the parish and do...
East Baton Rouge Parish wants to buy 540 acres of vacant land across the parish and do virtually nothing with it.(WAFB)

The project would cost approximately $45 million. The money would come from funds allocated to Louisiana after the 2016 floods.

Once purchased Gissel said the land would largely be left unadulterated. In some areas, low spots would be deepened and ditches cleared to make sure water can drain properly into the retention areas. In other instances, areas could be used for recreational areas by BREC given it does not impact flood protection.

East Baton Rouge Parish wants to buy 540 acres of vacant land across the parish and do...
East Baton Rouge Parish wants to buy 540 acres of vacant land across the parish and do virtually nothing with it.(WAFB)

“I think we’ve had all the discussions about the moratorium and construction and how construction affects flooding, so this is actually a program where we actually purchase land to take it out of commerce,” Gissel said. “So it won’t be developed and it won’t disturb the flood plain.”

East Baton Rouge Parish wants to buy 540 acres of vacant land across the parish and do...
East Baton Rouge Parish wants to buy 540 acres of vacant land across the parish and do virtually nothing with it.(WAFB)

The plan must first be approved by Metro Council. If approved it is expected to take three years to acquire the necessary property.

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