The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority is recommending a mix of commercial, residential and apartment development around the intersection at Scenic Highway and Scotland Avenue.
The RDA will work to turn recommendations for the community improvement plan for Scotlandville into a reality in the coming years using the resources at its disposal. Those include façade improvement grants, gap financing, new market tax credits, land banking and the power to free up titles to properties seized by the city-parish for nonpayment of taxes.
Project Manager Susannah Bing said the idea of focusing on that particular intersection was because it creates a “five points-style” convergence of streets that often serves as a destination point for neighborhood retail and local shops.
“Here we’re definitely looking at much more commercial, Main Street kind of improvements,” she said.
Bing also cited the Green Light road program’s improvements to Swan Avenue, which included lighting, benches, trees and sidewalks. She said that some federal grants the RDA is pursuing could be used to extend the improvements across Scotland Avenue and tie into Anna T. Jordan Park to the northeast.
“We wanted to build off of that, so we’re targeting that area for additional improvement,” she said.
Bing said the RDA will also work with efforts out of Southern University to enhance the connection between the school and the community.
That plan, by the Southern University School of Architecture’s Urban + Rural Community Design Research Center, will be unveiled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 30 in the Jewel Newman Community Center, 2013 Central Road.
The RDA’s plan, meanwhile, calls for a community-inspired crosswalk design at Scenic and Scotland, with a playground, pavilion and green space just to the north of the intersection.
To the east and west of the intersection, the neighborhoods around Owl, Osprey and Swan avenues and Snipe and Sora streets would see about 55,000 square feet in commercial development encouraged and 35,000 square feet of apartments, as well as a senior independent-living facility.
The plan also calls for 20 single-family homes to be built between Kingfisher and Southern avenues south of Owl Avenue. The plan calls for about 50,000 square feet across Southern Avenue between it and Scenic Highway.
Bing said the retail options requested by neighborhood residents last year were similar to those at workshops for Northdale, the Choctaw corridor, Zion City/Glen Oaks and Melrose East: a grocery store, pharmacies, a hardware store and other services such as day care and laundry facilities.
Bing said residents identified about a half-dozen buildings that, while not technically historic because of architectural changes over the years, are important to the community to preserve and put back into commerce.
The community improvement plans are part of the redevelopment authority’s effort to revitalize some of Baton Rouge’s most blighted neighborhoods. They will be folded into Future BR, the city-parish’s overhaul of its land use and development plan going before city officials later this summer.