The Vintage's owner Bernard Stolberg (left) and general manager Garrett McGoey pose for a portrait near a vintage piano in the new downtown Baton Rouge location.

Early voting begins Friday and interest is high in many races up and down the ballot, but one of the smallest constituencies in terms of voters is disproportionately important to Baton Rouge’s future growth. The Advocate encourages voters living within the Downtown Development District to renew its five-year, 10-mill operating tax on the Nov. 3 ballot.

That more people are living in the district, including downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, is one indicator of success for the DDD. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, downtown development has been a strong economic driver for the center of the city with new businesses.

Sidewalk dining and other expedients have saved some restaurants, but the lingering impact of shutdowns is severe. However, this too shall pass, and the desire for livable downtown spaces is only going to grow over the coming years.

The district board and staff have earned an endorsement in this renewal.

Baton Rouge DDD wants to spend $100,000 on these downtown projects