For Immediate Release
Release Date: 02/16/2011
Mayor Holden, FUTUREBR Planning Team Release Draft of EBR Vision
Mayor-President Melvin L. "Kip" Holden and the city-parish planning team led by national planner John Fregonese today released the draft of the Vision for East Baton Rouge Parish's comprehensive master plan that includes input from thousands of parish residents and stakeholders obtained through a year-long planning effort.
The 60-page document is a summary of the plan that will guide decisions about housing, economic development, transportation, land use, the environment, and urban design for the next twenty or more years for the City of Baton Rouge and the unincorporated areas of the parish. The Vision for the plan includes the core values and goals, the conceptual vision for the future and an executive summary of the comprehensive plan that will follow later this spring.
"Today marks a milestone in our FUTUREBR planning process," said Mayor Holden. "one that represents the collective will of our diverse neighborhoods and the voices of our people."
More than 1,500 citizens participated in public workshops and meetings over the past year while more than 3,400 provided input through an extensive survey process that helped guide the planning team in developing the Vision for East Baton Rouge Parish. The next step will be to gather additional public input on the Vision before the planning team delivers a Comprehensive Master Plan, a Strategic Implementation Plan and a Monitoring Plan. FUTUREBR updates the Horizon Plan that was adopted by the Planning Commission and Metro Council in 1992 and has been regularly updated since then.
Holden accelerated the update of the city-parish plan to address additional development and service pressures on the city-parish following the hurricanes in 2005. He also worked closely with the 2010 Census to assure those areas of East Baton Rouge Parish that were identified for low performance in the mail-in Census phase were counted. "We are at a critical juncture in our history," Mayor Holden said. "With East Baton Rouge Parish now confirmed as having the largest population in the state, this new comprehensive master plan will position us to take advantage of state and federal funding opportunities for a city and parish of our size."
Fregonese said the extensive and meaningful public input the process received should help the plan be embraced by the public for implementation. "We held seven community workshops and 15 district open houses that allowed us to test planning scenario options and hear directly from citizens, with the best results reflected in this Vision," said Fregonese. "We selected key neighborhoods and districts based on their strategic location and anticipated redevelopment potential and worked with other organizations that have neighborhood planning efforts underway. Our goal was to preserve the most cherished aspects of the city's neighborhoods while allowing them to evolve to meet the needs of future growth."
Transportation planning is another important part of the FUTUREBR process, with the public making it clear they want a robust network that includes not only well-connected streets, but also the ability to use other modes of transportation in and around the parish to help relieve traffic congestion. Improved local and regional connectivity as well as bicycle and pedestrian improvements are all included in the Vision, along with a goal of building a bus system that captures the "optional" riders who have transportation alternatives in addition to the "riders of need" who are dependent on the system for transportation.
The FUTUREBR Vision also focuses on a housing mix for East Baton Rouge Parish that will provide a competitive advantage for the future population with its emerging market segments. All aspects of the Vision are aimed at creating a strong economic environment that attracts and retains quality jobs, revitalizes employment centers and provides a quality of life that supports the workforce.
City-Parish Planning Director Troy Bunch said the public is asked to review and provide input on the draft Vision by accessing it online at www.FUTUREBR.com or at the City-Parish Planning Commission Office, 1755 Florida Street, Third Floor or any East Baton Rouge Parish Public Library. "We anticipate that the draft of the full plan will be available for public review in April and the remaining three components developed in the planning process will be sent to the Planning Commission in May. Following their favorable recommendation, we will ask the Metropolitan Council to schedule its public hearing and final adoption in late June or early July."
FUTUREBR is the update of East Baton Rouge Parish's comprehensive master plan for land use and development by the Office of the Mayor-President and the City-Parish Planning Commission.
Fregonese Associates is an award-winning urban and regional planning firm based in Portland, Oregon. They have worked on plans in cities across the country including Chicago, Dallas, Salt Lake City and Denver. In Louisiana, Fregonese Associates was involved with the Louisiana Speaks project and has been selected to lead a team to develop a best practices manual for Louisiana coastal communities.