BREC Takes First Step in Reimagining the Zoo and Greenwood Community Park
In the first step toward the creation of a reimagined Zoo and Greenwood Community Park, BREC is soliciting proposals from highly qualified and innovative design teams to develop a master plan for the 660-acre park. The request for proposals is posted on BREC’s website and can be viewed here: brec.org/rfp.
In the proposals BREC leadership outlines clear requirements that the design teams must produce “ambitious master plans that outline a bold vision for the future with a planning and design approach that emphasizes reinvestment in an economically challenged area of the parish.”
The comprehensive master plan for Greenwood will require a multi-discipline team approach with expertise in landscape architecture; urban design; land use planning; cultural resource planning; civil engineering; ecological planning; pubic engagement and economics.
The deliverables include a 10-year strategic business plan and 15-20-year master plan for the Baton Rouge Zoo to include an immediate $5-million phase of improvements to assist in reestablishing AZA accreditation. For Greenwood Community Park, BREC is seeking a comprehensive master plan report that is driven by strong public participation that will include improvements requested by the community such as a large, nature-based adventure playground, 20,000 square-foot recreation center/safe house, tournament style athletic complex, horse trails, golf training facility, pedestrian and equestrian bridges, multi-use trails and adventure areas to include zip lines and ropes courses. The final master plan report will include cost estimates, funding strategies, and a prioritized phasing plan that will chart Greenwood Community Park’s development vision.
Master plans for both the Zoo and Greenwood will require a strong public engagement plan developed for a common public vision for both facilities. This plan will include strategies for outreach to stakeholders, partners, user groups, public officials, and the public. This project is not only about producing great visionary master plans but also creating energy and passion of all participants who will shape the master plans. It will be citizens and the and the two sites themselves that will create a strong spirit for the projects.
The proposals call for design teams to demonstrate “advanced municipal planning and design experience of parks and landscapes of comparable size and scope” for the Greenwood proposal and experience in the development of zoo master plans, strategic plans and the development of revenue generating amenities for the zoo project.
“As responsible stewards of the public’s trust, we will move forward with a smart, professional and sensible planning strategy to ensure we fulfill our commitment to the entire parish,” said BREC Commission Chairman Lloyd Benson. “When the Commission voted to keep the Zoo in its current location, commissioners and the BREC leadership team committed to working with the community to create a state-of the art zoo and a cohesive location that will attract visitors and tourists to north Baton Rouge. This is the first step in fulfilling that promise, and we believe we will attract the top minds in these fields to create two amazing spaces for the entire parish to enjoy,” said Benson.
Both proposals call for the selected firms to lead extensive community engagement efforts to include elected officials including the mayors of Baton Rouge, Baker, Central and Zachary, partners, business organizations and the public in the development of the plans.
“With any major construction project, BREC works with the community to create a design that will best serve the entire parish, and this case will be no different as we gather the input of stakeholders and residents to create the energy and passion for this project which it must have to succeed,” said BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight. “As this process moves forward, BREC will continue to provide public updates with additional news releases and discussions at future Commission meetings starting next Thursday on June 26th at 5pm.”
Design teams have until July 12, 2018 to submit their proposals with the top firms being presented to the BREC Commission for approval in August. The RFPs call for the firms to begin their work in September with the goal of completing their master plans in a seven-month period.