QUESTION: Every time I go to the library, I look to see if the BREC café adjacent to the Main Library on Goodwood Boulevard is open for business. As of April 6, it was still closed. The BREC website indicates it was supposed to open in November, but as nearly as I can tell, nothing is being done on it. What’s the plan and timeline for opening it?

ANSWER: Cheryl Michelet, director of communications for the East Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission, says, they had a preliminary agreement with Roly Poly to operate the café at Independence Community Park, but then the corporate office decided against it.

“We are going to work with a real estate agent to promote its availability since the Roly Poly corporate office decided against moving forward with the project,” Michelet said.

“We’ve had some other inquiries but nothing concrete, so we will work to let restaurant owners know that this incredible location is available.”

Meanwhile, Michelet says, “we will be using the building for a brand new Nature Explorer’s Summer Camp and for rentals. We are holding registration right now for a brand new Nature Lover’s summer camp to be held in that building after school lets out, and it will be available for rental after camp ends. Programs and rental opportunities were our plans for the back part of the building while the front is designated for the café. We are also working to finalize the Master Plan for the Botanic Garden, and it will expand near the building which will offer many more opportunities for programming and events.”

QUESTION: BREC’s Jefferson Highway Park closed more than a year ago. I think they tore up the swimming pools that were there, but I haven’t seen activity there in months. What’s the plan and timeline for that renovation?

ANSWER: Because of declining attendance and increasing maintenance costs, the BREC board voted 8-1 on Dec. 11, 2012, to demolish swimming pools at two of its parks, Webb Memorial Park and Jefferson Highway Park, and replace them with playgrounds, a courtyard, lawn and other features.

Michelet says the Jefferson Highway Park pool project “was temporarily slowed due to some unforeseen subsurface soil stability issues. New sidewalks, a plaza area, a new playground and some small site structures are to be built on top of these areas.”

She previously told us they were working out “the most efficient and cost-effective method of replacing the soil with suitable material since it involves the excavation and replacement of several hundred cubic yards of select fill.”

Work was expected to have resumed the week of Jan. 19, she said then.

On April 7, she said BREC’s Capital Improvements crew fixed the issue and “we now need the weather to cooperate so that the contractor can get back out there again.”

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