- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - LSU has submitted a request to annex its south campus properties into Baton Rouge city limits.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/10U7yZS ) the petition was submitted Wednesday less than 24 hours after L’Auberge Casino and Hotel, a high-profile revenue generator in the parish, also made known its intentions to join Baton Rouge.

Annexing properties is a tool the city of Baton Rouge has been employing to chip away at both the revenue streams and footprint of the proposed city of St. George, which if successful in its incorporation could divert millions of tax dollars from Baton Rouge coffers into the St. George municipal budget.

LSU’s main campus is in the city of Baton Rouge. The most recent annexation proposal - signed off on by LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander - covers 2,400 acres of mostly farmland that includes the Ben Hur Research Station and the LSU Carrol L. Herring Fire & Emergency Training Institute.

The parcel is located in the southern-most part of the parish, west of Nicholson Drive and stretching south to the Mississippi River. The land is adjacent to the parcels of land that include the L’Auberge casino annexation.

“LSU and the city of Baton Rouge have a mutually beneficial relationship,” Alexander said in a prepared statement. “We prefer to remain part of this city, where we have been since 1869. We find no justification to merit having our land divided between two jurisdictions, and have concerns that such divisions could adversely impact services critical to our students.”

He declined comment about his position on the proposed city of St. George.

St. George spokesman Lionel Rainey said Baton Rouge officials are trying to wage a public perception war. He noted that LSU has no financial value to the city of Baton Rouge, because the campus doesn’t generate tax revenue, so the annexation is just another indication that Baton Rouge officials are trying to undercut the St. George effort.

“If they’re celebrating this as a win and that the city of St. George is dead, they have gravely underestimated the resolve of the people who live out here,” he said.

Baton Rouge attorney Mary Olive Pierson, who is assisting city officials on annexation issues, said the annexation is significant because LSU is a vital and highly recognizable Baton Rouge institution.

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

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