The Build Baton Rouge Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved a 2020 general fund budget that projects the parish’s redevelopment authority will run out of money before the upcoming year ends. Chris Tyson, executive director of Build Baton Rouge, said the agency is aggressively working with the city-parish and its partners to fix the shortfall. Tyson noted that last month the shortfall was projected to be around 

Redevelopment - Chris Tyson, EBR Redevelopment Authority

A new master plan is being developed for the long-discussed Ardendale mixed-use development, in order not to jeopardize a $30 million federal grant earmarked for housing in the community.

Chris Tyson, executive director of Build Baton Rouge, the city-parish redevelopment authority, said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development tentatively awarded the grant in May. The money will be used to redevelop the Housing Authority’s Ardenwood Village apartments in Ardendale and develop a 168-unit community called Cypress at Ardendale.

Work on Ardendale has been delayed because of wetlands issues. There are 6 to 7 acres of wetlands on the west side of the development that need to be mitigated. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not yet issued any decision about the mitigation. Tyson said it will cost $500,000 to mitigate the wetlands, which are a result of development around the property. The money to pay for that work hasn’t been identified yet.

“We felt it was the best decision to put on hold the wetlands mitigation,” he said Thursday, during a meeting of the Build Baton Rouge board of commissioners. If the city-parish doesn’t use the grant money by a certain date, it would go back to HUD.

The plan is to complete by Aug. 30 a master plan that avoids the wetlands on the west side of Ardendale. HUD is expected to approve the master plan by September, Tyson said.

Ardendale is a 200-acre tract northeast of Baton Rouge Community College near Florida Boulevard in a neighborhood bounded by Greenwell Springs Road and roughly between North Ardenwood Drive and North Lobdell Boulevard. The development, which will be built in four stages, also will include a YWCA child care center and senior housing. 

In other business, the commissioners welcomed Charles Landry to the board. Landry, a partner with the firm of Fishman Haygood, is a well-known real estate attorney. He replaces John Noland, who recently retired from the board and had been its only president.

Rodney Braxton, president of the Southern Strategy Group’s Louisiana offices, was voted president of the Build Baton Rouge board of commissioners. Braxton, an attorney who served as an assistant chief of staff to former Gov. Mike Foster, is a longtime member of the Build Baton Rouge board.

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