- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Recreation officials say they plan to build a new community park in the southeastern part of East Baton Rouge Parish, enhance trails and do other upgrades if parish voters approve the renewal of dedicated property tax on April 5.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1dTzjSj ) the East Baton Rouge Parish Recreation and Park Commission outlined its plans for using 2 mills of the tax up for renewal in a budget overview Thursday that was approved in a unanimous vote by commissioners.

That 2-mill portion of the tax would bring in an estimated $73 million over the next 10 years for capital improvement projects at the parish’s parks.

An additional 4.2 mills up for renewal would go toward paying BREC’s maintenance and operating expenses.

Nearly 34 percent of the capital improvements funding - about $24.8 million over 10 years - would go to enhancements at the system’s 12 existing community parks and the creation of another.

BREC Assistant Superintendent Ted Jack said a location hasn’t yet been identified, but the plan notes that the southeast part of East Baton Rouge Parish “does not have good coverage from the existing community parks.”

About 26.4 percent - $19.3 million - of the 10-year funding would go toward special-use facilities, including $2.1 million for the system’s golf courses, $5.2 million for the Baton Rouge Zoo and additional funding for conservation, cultural and athletic facilities; and 19.6 percent, or $14.2 million, would go to neighborhood parks upgrades, including installing air conditioning to at least six recreation centers.

The remaining 20 percent, which is about $14.7 million, would go toward general systemwide needs.

BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight said the funding is critical for BREC to continue building on its growth since the tax last was renewed in 2004.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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