EBR branch library site selection hits another snag

The East Baton Rouge Parish library board has hit another setback in its efforts to move forward on the long-delayed south branch library.

Library board members were expected to choose a site selection firm this month to help come up with location options for the proposed library, but the system received only one proposal before Thursday’s meeting.

Board members said they were impressed by the lone proposal from Baton Rouge’s Leo LLC, but wanted more options before moving forward with a contract — delaying action until February at the earliest.

“I have nothing against this firm,” board member Stan Bardwell said of the lone proposal. “My thinking is I’d like to see a couple of other firms’ submissions and approaches.”

Library director Spencer Watts said he’s confident he can get a proposal from at least one other firm in the coming weeks and present the proposals to the board at its February meeting.

Discussions on a library branch for the growing south Baton Rouge area have waged for at least six years. After talks on two different properties recently dissolved, the board started again on its site selection process.

The library has been proposed to serve a loosely-defined area that stretches from Essen Lane on the east to Stanford Avenue to the west, and from Perkins Road on the north down to the river at its south.

Board members met for more than two hours on a Saturday last month discussing the system’s property options, coming to no firm consensus before deciding to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a site selection consultant.