BREC says it has begun work on a $153,000 renovation of the downtown park that houses its Boxing Academy.
ANR Construction won the bid to update the exterior of the 6,500-square-foot Boxing Academy as well as its 2.5-acre grounds located in North 14th Street Park, which is off North Boulevard and part of the recently restored Downtown East neighborhood.
Site improvements will include new basketball courts, ornamental fencing, lighting, security cameras and other landscape improvements.
Meanwhile, work on the 75-year-old building, once home to a Dr. Pepper bottling plant, will include updates to the main entry, exterior doors, windows, facade and painting. As a tribute to the neighborhood’s history, finishing touches will include a painted mural on the building’s exterior wall featuring a vintage Dr. Pepper advertisement.
“We are excited to contribute to a revitalization of the area by providing a space for residents and visitors to engage in healthy activity,” says BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson in a prepared statement. “This gym has a long and storied history in Baton Rouge, and we have designed these improvements to pay homage to the history while giving the entire park a fresh look without changing the character of the boxing facility, which has produced Olympic and professional athletes.”
The project reflects a wave of redevelopment that’s come to Downtown East, which has been touted as a model for fighting blight and reenergizing Baton Rouge’s inner core. The area began contributing to the Downtown Development District tax base in late 2017, and 60 blocks received historic designation early this year.
Renovations to the BREC facility and park should be completed by early fall.