East Baton Rouge Parish’s parks and recreation department opened five new playgrounds this year, a splash pad and a new visitors center, as part of more than $35 million BREC spent on construction projects this year.
BREC calls 2016 a “banner year” for new additions, noting that many more projects that got underway this year will open in the coming year. Among them, Liberty Lagoon will see its capacity increase from 600 to 900 visitors when an expansion project is completed next summer. Two slides are also being added at the public pool and water park, as is a surfing machine.
Other projects on schedule to be completed next year include a renovation of the recreation center at Forest Community Park; a major expansion to the outdoor areas at North Sherwood Forest Community Park; an expansion of Independence Gardens; the repurposing of Howell Golf Course into a much larger community park; and the long-awaited Knock Knock Children’s Museum, which is expected to open next summer.
“BREC’s top priority is using the tax dollars entrusted to our agency wisely, and investing them in facilities and programs that make our community healthier and more vibrant for residents and visitors,” says BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight in a prepared statement. “The projects we opened to the public in 2016, and look forward to opening in 2017, will have a positive impact on every area of our parish and I am proud to say that despite the flood of 2016, we were able to make substantial progress on our goal of creating a more modern and innovative park system. We are working with FEMA to ensure that we can renovate and reopen facilities damaged by the high waters as quickly as possible.”
BREC has more details on projects completed and launched this year, including a cost breakdown for each project.