Mayor Kip Holden celebrates his final ribbon cutting as mayor of Baton Rouge this evening at 5 p.m. with the opening of the Downtown Greenway on North Boulevard.
The 2.75-mile greenway is a landscaped pedestrian and bicycle corridor that traverses downtown and connects at various intersections to an expanding network of trails and paths that, as envisioned, will ultimately stretch from north Baton Rouge to the southeastern corner of the parish.
“This is transformative,” says Downtown Development District Executive Director Davis Rhorer. “People don’t realize how close we all are. This is a way to see the city in a whole new light.”
Inspired by Manhattan’s High Line, the Downtown Greenway at North Boulevard features a 10-foot bicycle path and a five-foot pedestrian garden path as well as median crossings, specialty pavement, curb ramps, seating areas, lighting, sculpture, water fountains, bike racks and lush landscaping.
The Downtown Greenway runs from the intersection of Florida Street and River Road, where it connects to the Mississippi River Levee Trail. Going down North Boulevard away from the river, it connects to East/T.J. Jemison Boulevard, and will eventually connect to Expressway Park and, beyond that, to City Park and the Baton Rouge lakes system.
The DDD has been working closely with BREC and the city-parish to develop the greenway system, portions of which have already been completed. The price tag for the Downtown Greenway is some $3 million, which has come from federal and state grants.
Rhorer says it’s appropriate that Holden, who has been an advocate of downtown development during his three terms, is celebrating his final ribbon cutting downtown. The outgoing mayor’s first ribbon cutting was also downtown at the 2005 opening of the Shaw Center for the Arts.
Rhorer notes that in the last 30 days of his term, Holden has presided over three groundbreakings and now a ribbon cutting downtown. The groundbreakings including the new downtown library, the Lofts at 6C and the Courtyard Marriott.
Says Rhorer: “He’s been a real friend to downtown.”