The public gets a chance today to weigh in on three design concepts for BREC’s Greenwood Park and Baton Rouge Zoo master plan, which propose a variety of new amenities, roadways, water and nature trails, as well as scaled-down golf offerings.
The three concepts—dubbed EBR’s Heart, Braided Bayou and Eco Constellation—will be on display at two public meetings hosted by BREC today.
One of the biggest changes, proposed in all three concepts, is the elimination of 18 holes of golf at the Dumas Memorial course, leaving nine reconfigured holes at the J.S. Clark course. BREC golf officials say the Dumas course is “clearly our largest challenge” as it is low performing and expensive to maintain. The 18-hole course saw just 12,134 rounds played last year and needed taxpayer subsidies of nearly $500,000.
The public, however, will be able to weigh on whether BREC should remove Dumas entirely or keep nine holes of the course, bringing Greenwood down from a total 27 to 18 holes of golf.
As for the rest of the Greenwood design concepts, the public can provide input on the unique offerings each of the three concepts presents.
“They don’t have to pick just one,” says BREC spokeswoman Cheryl Michelet. “They can mix and match what they like from each one.”
The EBR’s Heart concept focuses on culture, music, food and an expanded Greenwood Lake to double as an active waterfront with an outdoor music venue. The proposal also includes a waterfront restaurant, fairgrounds and nature observation center.
The Braided Bayou proposal focuses on sports, ecology and nature-related programs, as well as an enhanced bayou system, with a “braided ribbon” of trails and bayous. The concept would include bayou restoration, a sports complex, mini golf and a zip line.
The Eco Constellation concept focuses on adventure play and a “constellation” of water, woods and meadows, with small ponds connected by water channels. The proposal involves water trail expansion, a lake adventure center, eco-lodge, zip line and canopy walk.
All the concepts propose a new entrance to the zoo, bringing visitors through Greenwood Park, in an effort to better connect the two. Each concept proposes adding between two to three miles of roadway through the park.
Two design firms—Boston-based Sasaki Associates and New Orleans-based Torre Design Consortium—developed the concepts based on previous community and stakeholder input. The multiphase plans are expected to extend over a 20-year period, with phase one alone estimated to cost between $20 million-$30 million.
The phase one priority of the master plan will focus on regaining zoo accreditation and building a new zoo entrance and roadway. BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson says improvements needed for accreditation could cost $10 million-$15 million.
After BREC gathers public input on the three concepts, the parks department plans to present a final draft of the master plan in July, Michelet says, which is when BREC will have a better idea of the total cost and how the plan will be implemented.
The public meetings today will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Zachary Public Library and from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Highland Road Park Recreation Center.