Architects plan to unveil a first look at what the Baton Rouge lakes could look like in the future, during an open house from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 29 at LSU’s Lod Cook Alumni Center.
“The goal is to incorporate as much public comment as we can into the final product so it reflects what the public wants,” said Beverly Moore, director of civic leadership initiatives for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
Two previous public meetings that had participants rank their priorities for the lakes and even help design a park have influenced what will be seen at the next meeting, Moore said.
Although it won’t be final designs, the available maps will have some general details showing how the consultants SWA Group and Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects have compiled this public comment.
The meeting will start with about 20 minutes of updates from the consultants on what work has been done and what still needs to be accomplished.
Then the meeting will begin an open house format where participants can visit stations that focus on different aspects of the plan such as water quality, public amenities, dredging and grading options, and more. Environmental problems at the lakes — City Park, University, Campus, College, Crest and Erie — include years of runoff that has moved dirt into the lake bed and resulted in shallow water levels. Shallow water gets warm, resulting in less oxygen and at times makes the lakes too oxygen-deprived for fish to survive.
Part of the plan will need to address just how the lakes are going to be dredged deeper despite the challenge of the stumps that remain at the bottom of the lakes from when the area was logged in the 1930s.
How and where that dredged soil will be used or disposed of is still being discussed.
In addition, although the lakes are a popular site for walkers, runners, bikers and bird watchers, there are very few sidewalks. Cars and people are forced to share the same limited space, leading to safety concerns.
Public comment will be recorded at each station as the architects go back to work to have a draft plan out for public review during a meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 30 at the LSU E.J. Ourso College of Business School Auditorium.
People are asked to RSVP for the Jan. 29 meeting at http://www.batonrougelakes.org/.
Follow Amy Wold on Twitter, @awold10.