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Preview: Baton Rouge News from Around the Parish

Baton Rouge News from Around the Parish

News from Around the Parish

Copyright: Copyright 2006

Baton Rouge awarded five Gold Medals for Healthy Initiatives

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 00:00:00 CST

Oct. 6, 2016

For release: IMMEDIATELY

For more information, contact:

Andy Allen, Outreach Officer, (225) 389-3100

Susan Boudreaux, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-5101

Michelle McCalope, Mayor’s Office: (225) 389-7957

Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden announced that Baton Rouge was awarded five gold medals by the National League of Cities (NLC) for the completion of key health and wellness goals as part of the Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) program. Mayor Holden worked with the NLC and First Lady Michelle Obama through his Healthy City Initiative while chair of the NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families to address childhood obesity and today’s announcement celebrates Baton Rouge achieving top status in each LMCTC goal area.

The LMCTC program is a major component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s comprehensive Let’s Move! initiative to ensure that kids can grow up healthy. LMCTC works closely with local elected officials nationwide to adopt policies that improve access to healthy affordable food and opportunities for physical activity for their constituents across five goal areas.

“We’ve long worked with the National League of Cities and the First Lady to promote healthier lifestyles and policies in Baton Rouge. These medals are another recognition of our commitment to our Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative’s vision of a healthier Baton Rouge for all,” said Mayor Holden.

In participating in the LMCTC program, Baton Rouge is part of a nationwide movement to support health and wellness. The Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative has been recognized by the American Hospital Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a national example of an effective and innovative collaborative movement and with today’s medals, Baton Rouge has again been spotlighted for taking actions to improve access to healthy, affordable food and increase opportunities for physical activity.

In the LMCTC program, all participants have the opportunity to earn up to five gold medals, one for each actionable goal to which they commit to as part of the initiative. Medals are awarded to local elected officials based on their achievements in each of the following five goal areas:

•Goal I: Start Early, Start Smart: Promoting best practices for nutrition, physical activity, and screen time in early care and education settings.

•Goal II: My Plate, Your Place: Prominently displaying MyPlate in all municipal or county venues where food is served.

•Goal III: Smart Servings for Students: Expanding access to meal programs before, during and after the school day, and/or over summer months.

•Goal IV: Model Food Service: Implementing healthy and sustainable food service guidelines that are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

•Goal V: Active Kids at Play: Increasing opportunities for physical activity.

More than 500 cities, towns and counties are participating in LMCTC, and 80 million Americans are now living in LMCTC communities that are dedicated to helping young people eat healthy foods and be physically active. Each month, NLC recognizes local elected officials who achieve key benchmarks for the five LMCTC goals. Since July 2012, NLC has awarded 3,243 bronze, silver, and gold medals to recognize local elected officials across the country for their LMCTC progress.

For more information go to

Right of Entry for Debris Collection Form

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:00:00 CST

Right of Entry for Debris Collection Form

EBR Stream Debris Survey

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 00:00:00 CST

EBR Stream Debris Survey

Loop Capital Justice Center Study

Fri, 08 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST

On behalf of Loop Capital Financial Consulting Services (“LCFCS” or “Loop Capital”), we are pleased to provide the final report on the Baton Rouge Justice Center Study. In December 2015, LCFCS was engaged to review current local processes that affect the jail population against national best practices in order to identify improvements that could expedite the classification and processing of individuals from their first encounter with law enforcement through the time they are released from custody. The goal of the engagement is to provide a report that assists policymakers in decisions about the size and scope of a new facility and that will provide a menu of options for more detailed implementation steps in each of the recommendations.

Mayor Holden Releases Locally Preferred Alternative for Proposed Streetcar

Mon, 07 Mar 2016 00:00:00 CST

Environmental Assessment will Evaluate Route Alignment, Stops and Maintenance Sites

Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden said the City-Parish has identified a Locally Preferred Alternative for the TramLinkBR project. The Locally Preferred Alternative is based on the project team’s recommendations for a route alignment, streetcar stops and potential maintenance facility locations with input from the public and stakeholder groups the project team has been working with over the past few months.


Mayor's State of the City Address - 2016

Wed, 06 Jan 2016 00:00:00 CST

Mayor's State of the City Address - 2016

Mayor Holden, HUD Officials lead effort to end Veteran Homelessness

Fri, 18 Dec 2015 00:00:00 CST

Roundtable explores permanent Baton Rouge housing possibilities for Vets

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the City of Baton Rouge co-hosted a Landlords Roundtable Discussion at the Louisiana Housing Corporation on December 4th, as part of the effort to end veteran homelessness in Baton Rouge.



Wed, 18 Nov 2015 00:00:00 CST

Councilwoman Chauna Banks seeks to create a North Baton Rouge Development District modeled after the successful Downtown Development District. The Downtown Development District is funded by a special ad valorem (property) tax approved by the voters within the boundaries of the district, was authorized by State Statute LSA R.S. 33:2740.8.

“We all know the success of the David Rhorer and the DDD, I believe the creation of a NBR Development District is what is needed to drive the development of north Baton Rouge and be the catalyst for a prosperous, stimulating, innovative voice for this portion of the parish’, says Councilwoman Banks.

The Council doesn’t have the authority to authorize the creation of a special taxing district without State enabling legislation. Councilwoman Banks stated, “My first step in that process is to reach out to the legislatures representing north Baton Rouge and advocate for introduction of a bill to authorized the creation of such a district in north Baton Rouge.

Representative Regina Barrow authored ACT 98, which creates a new economic development district for the North Baton Rouge area, however, no funding was attached to the bill and it hasn’t proved to benefit the area in the capacity that is needed.

After decades of rapid real estate development, especially in south Baton Rouge, a major factor has emerged. “There’s just not a lot of available land,” says Brian Danton, a partner at Bruce Dantin Development. “And what is available is really expensive.”

Dantin shared his prediction as part of a panel of eight community leaders who recently sat down for an editorial roundtable discussion with 225 as part of the magazine’s 10th anniversary issue.

225 Publisher Julio Melara, Editor Jennifer Tormo and contributing writer Maggie Heyn Richardson recently met with Dantin and the others and asked them to predict what the next 10 years will look like for public education, food and entertainment, health care and more in Baton Rouge.

Councilwoman Banks sees this as an excellent opportunity for north Baton Rouge to create a sustainable development district to prepare for the inevitable shift.

Baton Rouge Area Attracts 35 Film Projects in 2015

Mon, 09 Nov 2015 00:00:00 CST

The Baton Rouge region attracted 35 film projects in 2015 that totaled more than $178 million in direct local spending.

The largest project to film in the BR region this year was MGM's The Magnificent Seven, a remake of the acclaimed western classic starring Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington. The production spent more than $75 million in the region over a span of six months, and is scheduled to be released in theatres around the world in September 2016.


Baton Rouge named Top 10 Digital City in America by Center for Digital Government

Tue, 03 Nov 2015 00:00:00 CST

Baton Rouge has been named a Top 10 Digital City by the Center for Digital Government, which annually names and acknowledges top-ranked digital cities across America based on the merits of local initiatives related to citizen engagement, policy, operations, and technology and data.


Mayor Holden Announces Launch of Real-Time Service Feedback Platform

Mon, 02 Nov 2015 00:00:00 CST

As the City-Parish continues to leverage new technologies and digital platforms to better engage with Baton Rouge citizens, Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden announced today the launch of Expresit, a real-time web and smartphone application designed to gather feedback about experiences between the public and City-Parish programs or services and recognize employees for positive service interactions.


Baton Rouge Among Nine Pilot Sites Selected for Program to Aid Low-income Youth

Thu, 29 Oct 2015 00:00:00 CST

Baton Rouge is one of nine pilot sites selected by the federal government for a new program designed to test innovative new strategies to improve outcomes for low-income disconnected youth ages 14 to 24.

The interagency Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3) initiative is aimed at youth who are in foster care, homeless, young parents, involved in the justice system, unemployed, or who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school.


CPBR Title VI Plan Related to Federal Transit Administration Funding

Mon, 22 Jun 2015 00:00:00 CST

In compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the City of Baton Rouge and Parish of East Baton Rouge (City-Parish) operates all of its programs and provides public transportation services without regard to race, color or national origin. City-Parish is committed to providing non-discriminatory service that is open to the general public. City-Parish is committed to ensuring that no person is excluded from access to its transit services on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Also, under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, City-Parish shall not discriminate against an individual with a physical or mental disability in connection with the provision of transportation service.

An official statement of this policy signed by the Mayor-President assuring the City-Parish's compliance

with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 can be found in Attachment A.


Nonprofit KaBOOM! honors Baton Rouge as one of this year’s 241 Playful City USA communities

Wed, 17 Jun 2015 00:00:00 CST

With research proving play is critical to the overall well-being of children, 241 cities and towns, including Baton Rouge, earned recognition today from national nonprofit KaBOOM! as 2015 Playful City USA communities for their efforts to combat childhood obesity by providing ample opportunities for play. This is the third consecutive year that Baton Rouge has received the honor.

Today’s generation of children play less than any previous generation despite the vast benefits of play. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that play is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being of children.

Sponsored by the Humana Foundation, Playful City USA is a national program from KaBOOM! that celebrates and promotes local policies that increase play opportunities for children and is a key platform in combating the lack of play among children.

Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden said it’s an honor for Baton Rouge to be named a “Playful City USA” community, but noted that it’s also the result of a lot of hard work.

“This designation fits perfectly with our city’s Healthy City Initiative, which targets childhood obesity by encouraging kids to eat healthier and exercise more. It’s also a testimony to the efforts of BREC, which is one of the top parks and recreation programs in the country, and to the local school system for recognizing the value of physical education,” Mayor Holden said.

Hopscotch sidewalks, structured recess programs, mandated neighborhood play spaces, city-wide play days and mobile recreation vehicles are all ways in which this year’s 241 Playful City USA communities are appealing to residents, and attracting and retaining residents.

“Playability is crucial to the success of our future communities, and we are proud of the work these cities and leaders are doing to provide a better quality of life for all residents, and especially families,” says KaBOOM! President James Siegal. “Play provides a competitive advantage for cities looking to attract and retain residents. With these esteemed leaders, and our friends and partners across the country, we continue to prioritize play for all kids.”

To learn more about these cities, see the full list of the 241 communities named 2015 Playful City USA honorees, or to gather more information on the Playful City USA program, visit

Up to $50,000 in interest-free gap financing available to qualified homebuyers

Fri, 20 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST

Mayor-President Melvin L. “Kip” Holden’s Office of Community Development (OCD) is offering interest-free loans of up to $50,000 that can be used to purchase homes through its Homebuyer Assistance Program.

Prospective homebuyers can receive up to $25,000 in assistance for existing homes and up to $50,000 for new construction in designated areas in East Baton Rouge Parish. For homes outside the specially designated areas, the program offers interest-free gap financing of up to $23,000 on new construction.

No monthly payments are required on the interest-free loans as long as the buyer resides in the home, so those costs would not factor into the monthly mortgage payments that would be required to finance the remainder of the purchase price.

The interest-free loans can be used as a down payment or closing costs and don’t have to be repaid until the sale or transfer of the property. However, borrowers who take advantage of the program may choose to repay the loan while they are still residing in the homes.

The zero-percent interest loans are funded by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and are available to people who might not otherwise qualify for the mortgages necessary to purchase the homes.

The interest-free loans are available for any property in East Baton Rouge Parish, with the exception of the incorporated areas of Baker, Central and Zachary.

Participating homebuyers must not have owned a home in the last three years, or they may qualify as a displaced homemaker or single parent. They also must meet certain income limits. For example, a two-person household can earn a maximum of $42,500 per year to qualify. A household of four can earn a maximum of $53,100 annually.

Those who take advantage of the Homebuyer Assistance Program must complete a special course, offered through the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, designed to educate them about the homeownership.

An example of a specially designated area where the Homebuyer Assistance Program offers the maximum incentive on newly constructed homes is the Copper Oaks Subdivision off Mickens Road. Copper Oaks is partnering with OCD to offer up to $50,000 in gap financing for qualified buyers through the Homebuyers Assistance Program.

For additional information about the Homebuyers Assistance Program, contact the OCD’s First-time Homebuyer’s Office at (225) 389-3039, ext. 127.

For more information about the housing options available in the Copper Oaks Subdivision, go to

South Waste Water Treatment Plant running smoothly after expansion, upgrades

Thu, 19 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST

The City-Parish’s recently retooled “State of the Art” South Wastewater Treatment Plant (SWWTP) on Gardere Lane is officially in operation after nearly $250 million worth of construction work.The project expanded the SWWTP’s capacity from 120 million to 200 million gallons per day, converted the 50-year-old plant into a state-of-the-art facility, and greatly improved the treatment efficiency and effluent quality. Operations of the revamped plant officially began on January 12 and have been running smoothly ever since. "This is a major milestone for the City-Parish in our commitment to the citizens of Baton Rouge, to improve quality of life and environmental responsibility,” said Chief of Wastewater Operations and Maintenance Amy Schulze.”The staff of the DPW-Wastewater Treatment Operations and Maintenance Division worked tirelessly together to successfully start-up the SWWTP's new treatment operations. We are grateful to our employees for their efforts and to the public for their continued patience as we move towards this vitally important Program's completion.”The expanded plant will allow for the closure of the old Central Wastewater Treatment Plant (CWWTP) off River Road between downtown Baton Rouge and LSU. Flows from the CWWTP are expected to be diverted to the SWWTP this summer. Plans call for the CWWTP to eventually be dismantled.Last September, the SWWTP was showcased in a tour that was part of the Water Environment Federation’s Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference. The annual conference offers water quality professionals from around the world the best water quality education and training available today.The expansion and revamp of the SWWTP is the largest capital improvement project in the history of East Baton Rouge Parish, and is part of the Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Program, an ongoing $1.3 billion revamp of the City-Parish’s aging sewer system.The improvements to the sewer system were mandated by the federal government because the system occasionally overflowed during heavy rains, and sometimes backed up into homes and businesses.In addition to improvements to the SWWTP, the SSO Program also includes:•Rehabilitation of 5 million feet of pipeline.•Upsizing of 1 million feet of sewage lines to increase capacity.•Expansion of 150 of the City-Parish's more than 400 pump stations.•Improvements to the North Wastewater Treatment Plant (NWWTP).•Installation of backup generators for all pump stations and treatment plants, so the system can continue to function during power outages during hurricanes or other disasters.•Installation of a system-wide electronic monitoring and control system to allow the continuous monitoring and operations of pump stations from a centralized location.Public Works Director Bryan Harmon noted that while the work at the SWWTP has been completed to allow the receipt and processing of the sewer flows from the collection system, the collection system work is not yet complete and many of those improvements have yet to be connected to the plant. “The SSO Program continues to move forward towards the implementation of all 110 projects to make whole its commitment to satisfying the Consent Decree and doing its part to make Baton Rouge America's next great city,” Harmon said. “Improvements will continue on the collection and pumping components of the sewer system, as well as the NWWTP, and we ask for your continued patience and understanding for the remainder of the Program. We will do our part to minimize inconveniences to the citizens of the City-Parish.”Harmon said all elements of the improved sewer system won’t[...]

IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge Report

Mon, 02 Feb 2015 00:00:00 CST

The City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, US. was one of 16 cities selected to receive a Smarter Cities Challenge® grant from IBM in 2014 as part of the company’s citizenship efforts to build a Smarter Planet®. During three weeks in October of 2014, a team of five IBM experts worked to deliver recommendations on a key challenge identified by Mayor-President, Melvin L. “Kip” Holden and the senior leadership team: Help Baton Rouge become a global model for high-performance, data-driven transportation.

Baton Rouge is growing rapidly, with more than $34 billion in industrial expansion and more than 20,000 new jobs forecast for 2015. But the City faces serious traffic and transportation issues. In light of this, the City of Baton Rouge aims to become a global model for how a fast-growing, emerging economy uses data to effectively manage, model, grow and sustain a high-performance transportation system.


Goodwood Main Library Takes Top Prize

Mon, 12 Jan 2015 00:00:00 CST

ENR Regional ‘Best Overall Project of the Year’ Awardgoes to Main Library at GoodwoodAlready chosen as the winner of the ENR Regional Best Government / Public Project, the Main Library at Goodwood has now been selected as the Winner of ‘Best Overall Project of the Year’ for the ENR Texas & Louisiana region, which assesses projects from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. The announcement was made on December 18, 2014 at the ENR Texas & Louisiana annual awards event in Houston. The ENR (Engineering News-Record) Best Projects Awards celebrate and honor the building teams that created the best projects of 2014 nationwide. Projects are selected by juries of local prominent industry professionals in 12 regions across the United States. Categories awarded cover a variety of building and highway/heavy categories - from Best Green Project to Best Highway Project and many more. This fall, an independent jury of industry experts determined the winners from more than 80 regional project submissions. Winners were selected for 18 categories and eighteen projects were awarded the highest honor of “Best Project” in their respective categories. The Main Library at Goodwood was previously announced as the regional winner for the category ‘Best Government/Public Buildings Project for 2014’, qualifying it for consideration for ‘Best Overall Project of the Year’. The Main Library at Goodwood was then chosen from all 18 categories to take the top honors for the region.The Main Library at Goodwood is a pay-as-you-go project of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. Located in BREC’s Independence Park, the Library’s staff and design team collected and refined input from patrons for many years and worked closely with representatives of BREC to create a shared campus for citizens of all ages and interests. General Contractor for the project is Milton J. Womack Inc. of Baton Rouge. The project was designed by The Library Design Collaborative, a joint venture of Baton Rouge firms Cockfield Jackson Architects and Tipton Associates and Dallas firm Dewberry Architects Inc. Upon being notified of the ‘Best Overall’ award, Library Director Spencer Watts stated, “It was already gratifying to be selected as the ‘Best Government/Public Project for 2014’ for this five state region, and I believe this high-profile award reflects positively on Baton Rouge as a community. However, we were truly excited to be awarded the ‘Best Overall Project for 2014’. This top award demonstrates that we have an outstanding building that has been warmly embraced by the public and is being well used.”“This success is a direct result of the efforts of our strong and talented design team and the leadership of the Library Board of Control in collaboration with all of the men and women who worked so hard to plan and construct the building. Based on the ideas, input and enthusiastic support of the general public, the new Main Library at Goodwood is a dynamic, functional, and innovative space that utilizes many green principles. It does a wonderful job on a daily basis of meeting the public’s needs for the present and has the capacity to be highly flexible and adapt to meet the changing needs of the public.” Library Board President, Tanya Freeman commented, “It is truly wonderful news to learn that our new Main Library took the top honors for this prestigious regional award. To be selected as the “Best of the Best” from among so many other extraordinary entries from all across this five-state region means that others[...]

Educate to Elevate Library Donation Challenge

Mon, 01 Dec 2014 00:00:00 CST

"Educate to Elevate" is a parish-wide community crusade to engage individuals, groups, local businesses, public agencies, policy makers, faith based and charitable institutions in establishing sustainable libraries in both the men and women's sections of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, "Correctional populations are over-represented with individuals having below average levels of educational attainment." While incarcerated men and women need the literary resources to improve the skills that promote self-reliance and autonomy with the end objective of enabling the prison population to reintegrate into society harmoniously.

Whether their stay is of a short term or long term nature, inmates have the added frustration of very little to do constructively with their time. As a result, the following partners and stakeholders have joined forces to promote and challenge the community at large to contribute books to the cause: Senator Sharon Weston Broome, Representative Regina Ashford Barrow, Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards, Councilwoman Donna Collins Lewis, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Grimes Warden, Tonja Myles, Spencer Watts, and a host of other faith-based, charitable, public and private agencies.

The press conference to roll out the details of the campaign will be held on Wednesday, December 3, 2015 at 10:00am at Parish Prison. Invited guests include:

PICO National Network

Capital Area Re-Entry Coalition

For additional information feel free to call City Parish Public Information at 225.389.3121.