The East Baton Rouge Parish Recreation and Park Commission adopted a 10-year strategic plan Wednesday that will add trails, another park in the southeast section of the city and more to the Baton Rouge park system.
“Imagine Your Parks 2: Better Parks-Better Living” has been passed back and forth between the public and the decision-makers over the past year as BREC has sought input on the future of parks in the parish. The first “Imagine Your Parks” in 2004 led to the creation of 12 community parks across the city, and was paid for by a $70.5 million, 20-year property tax.
BREC’s accreditation requires that the strategic plan be updated every 10 years.
Plans for more walking and biking trails have sparked enthusiasm. Residents have taken the idea a step further and asked BREC to find a way to connect its network of trails. A map of BREC’s vision for the parish’s trail system will be released early in 2015.
BREC’s goal that people in the city will be within 10 minutes of a park is lagging in the southeast section of the parish because of traffic, according to Communications Director Cheryl Michelet. While the Forest Community Park and Highland Road Community Park are on that side of the parish, she said the commission plans to expand one or add a new park to the area.
At their December meeting, the commissioners will accept public input and vote on BREC’s proposed $94 million budget for 2015. The budget has shrunk from this year’s $96 million budget because the parks commission is not paying for as many capital improvement projects as in the past.