News BREC Flood Recovery Status
Baton Rouge, LouisianaSix months after the historic flood, CSRS Consulting Group gave the BREC Commission an update on ongoing efforts to repair and reopen buildings damaged by storm waters. While 22 buildings suffered damage, many of them are restrooms and maintenance buildings. The nine recreation centers that have been closed since taking on water are BREC’s top priorities, as the agency is going through the arduous process of seeking funding from FEMA to help cover the cost of repairs.
Those centers are:
|Howell Pool and Recreation Center||60" to 90"|
A tenth facility at Frenchtown Road Conservation Area was in the process of being converted into an education center and trailhead and is also high on BREC’s priority list.
As CSRS explained to Commissioners, BREC is working to balance the re-opening of facilities while minimizing financial risk and managing the cash flow issues that will arise as multiple facilities are being repaired at the same time. While FEMA will reimburse government agencies for repairs, they warned that the process is time consuming and requires an extensive paperwork to create an auditable record. CSRS estimated that it will take until July of 2018 for FEMA to issue approvals for all storm repair construction.
Since the recreation centers at Baker and Forest Community Park were already underway, construction at both facilities has been able to continue and those buildings should reopen this year with added amenities such as air conditioning and expanded space for public use.
Recreation centers at Lovett Road and Church Street Parks were about to go to public bid when the storms hit. That required BREC staff to redraw the plans for both buildings and revise bid documents to include needed repairs. Those centers will be next in line for construction which will include the addition of air conditioning and expanded space for public use of the centers. The remaining centers at Maplewood, Flannery, Hamilton and Sharp Parks will enter the planning phase once BREC receives approval from FEMA to move forward on repairs and BREC staff can determine if funding is available to make improvements to these buildings as well.
The recreation center at Howell Community suffered the most extensive damage of any building in the BREC system. For the 2017 summer, BREC is seeking FEMA approval to lease temporary facilities to house summer camp and to provide restrooms and changing areas for children who utilize the swimming pool. In the meantime, BREC is seeking partnerships to create a true community park recreation center at Howell which can be utilized for multiple purposes including athletics, health and wellness programs, tutoring programs, camps and much more.