The Metro Council will consider placing areas in south Baton Rouge along River Road currently without dedicated fire protection under the jurisdiction of St. George Fire Protection District. Councilman Chandler Loupe, who represents the area including the Pinnacle casino under construction, will introduce a notice of intent to expand the St. George district at Wednesday’s meeting. A public hearing is scheduled for the April 27 meeting. “The area is basically a big semicircle from Nicholson (Drive) to the river that goes just north of Riverbend to the Iberville Parish line,” Loupe says.
The St. George district currently serves about 100,000 people in a 68-square-mile area. The expansion would increase the fire protection district by about 15%, says Chief Jerry Tarleton, but would only include a few dozen more households and businesses. “This issue has popped up from time to time, and the Pinnacle casino is obviously going to produce some development in that area, so it’s probably time to take a look at it,” Tarleton says.
Also on Wednesday’s agenda is a vote on an agreement with the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority to provide $1.5 million in community development block grant funds for a mixed-use development in Mid City’s Smiley Heights area. The council will take up the proposed tax incremental financing district for a downtown Hampton Inn & Suites. The hotel’s developers are asking for a portion of the city’s 13-cent hotel-motel tax to pay down construction costs, estimated at $16 million to $17 million. —Steve Sanoski