‘Be patient:’ Phase 1 of University Lakes Project could finally begin this Spring
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Many people who frequent the University Lakes in Baton Rouge may be getting impatient, trying to figure out when construction could actually begin on the massive project to revitalize the area.
It’s the perfect place to exercise, have a picnic, fish, or just take in the amazing view.
“Having the Lakes out here, it’s just cool to just have a body of water to look at,” said Megan Braman, an LSU student who frequents The University Lakes.
“Me and my wife walk around the Lakes probably about twice a week, just to get some exercise, be outside, and to just have a good time,” said William Craig.
Last Summer, many people may have been encouraged by the sights and sounds of construction, thinking the University Lakes Project was finally kicking into high gear.
But that wasn’t exactly the case.
“The work that you saw this past summer was called the ‘Advance Work Project.’ It allowed our contractors and our designers to test some materials and means and methods, while we built an island that was necessary for another portion of the project. So, it helped our team learn a lot,” said Mark Goodson, the Project Manager of the University Lakes Project.
Goodson says, so far, they’ve just completed the design for phase 1.
“Which includes among other things deepening and re-shaping City Park Lake, as well as improving the May Street Corridor and some additional improvements,” said Goodson.
According to the website, “Phase 1 construction will focus on dredging five of the six lakes: City Park, Erie, Crest, Campus, and College Lakes. Additionally, a network of pedestrian and cyclist paths will be improved in certain areas to make the use of the lakes safer and more comfortable for all people. Additional improvements and recreational amenities will be built along the length of the lake’s edges and surrounding park spaces.”
Officials are currently negotiating the construction contract for that work and are waiting on permits from the U.S. Corps of Engineers.
“And we’re hoping to be under construction later this Spring,” said Goodson.
He says the most critical issue with the project is to improve the environmental health of the lakes. Which leads to cleaner bodies of water, which will be more attractive to wildlife.
But the extra amenities will take some time.
“A lot of those additional enhancements, the other walking and biking trails, the other improvements to green spaces and parks will come over time as additional funding becomes available. Please just be patient with us, we want to make these lakes the best they can be,” said Goodson.
Phase 1 should be completed in the third quarter of next year.
To take a look at the designs click here.
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