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Friday, October 29, 2021

BREC Announces Exciting Updates at October Commission Meeting

The Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC) announced several exciting updates at last night’s monthly Commission meeting.

First, BREC expressed gratitude to the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) for its recent Energy Efficiency project award. This Energy Efficiency program funding will allow BREC to receive new, state-of-the art ballfield lighting that will contribute energy savings and enhanced lighting to seven of BREC’s heavily utilized parks. Applications submitted to the LPSC in January for new ballfield lighting, totaling $1.2 million, were recently approved for Oak Villa Sports Park, Anna T. Jordan Community Park, Howell Community Park, Longfellow Park, Cedar Ridge Park, Antioch Boulevard Park and Kathy Drive Park. The improvements are expected to begin in early 2022.

“We are very excited about this award and the upcoming improvements that will positively impact the lives of many in in the community,” said BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson. “We want to thank Public Service Commissioners Craig Greene and Lambert Boissiere for partnering with BREC to upgrade these parks for Baton Rouge residents.”

The objectives of the lighting improvements include energy savings, improved lighting quality, reduced maintenance and labor costs, improved park patron experiences and a reduction in BREC’s carbon footprint. BREC and the LPSC estimate energy savings resulting from the project to total almost $70,000 per year. BREC will match these funds with replacements for the respective poles at all seven facilities and will install artificial turf at all eight ballfields at Oak Villa Sports Park.

In addition to the Energy Efficiency award, BREC announced that it will kick off a public engagement process to establish new policies and procedures for gathering on-going public input, thus improving the decision-making process regarding BREC’s offerings to the public. This process resulted from an agreement made with State Senator Mack “Bodi” White after he voluntarily deferred Senate Bill 205 during this year’s legislative session. The proposed bill would have split the award-winning park system up, creating three new, smaller park systems for the cities of Central and Zachary as well as the proposed City of St. George.

A local project team made up of community members from across the parish, along with key BREC staff members, is currently in development. Once finalized, this team will meet to discuss models used by similar park agencies across the country for on-going public input and to discuss a plan for how our citizens will be engaged to provide input on what is needed and could work well in East Baton Rouge Parish. Residents will then be engaged for input. This input will be used by the local project team to devise draft plans for BREC future community engagement policies and procedures that will also be made available for public input before being presented to the BREC Commission for approval.

According to BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson, “We are looking forward to this process and believe that putting more formal processes in place for gaining on-going public input from citizens across the parish will make us even better.”

For a complete list of updates provided at the October Commission meeting, please visit brec.org/commission.

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