Panel ties in vote to rename street

A bid to rename GSRI Avenue failed to pass the East Baton Rouge city-parish Planning Commission on Monday on a tie vote, but will go before the Metro Council next month.

Louisiana Business and Technology Center officials asked the commission to change the name of the street between Nicholson Drive and Gardere Lane. The proposed name anticipates the development of LSU’s Innovation Park and was intended to move away from the negative associations with the area.

Charles D’Agostino, who runs the LBTC, submitted a petition with the support of 17 businesses along GSRI and brought with him representatives of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Entergy, the LSU Foundation and two companies.

But the employees of Gulf South Research Corp., an environmental engineering firm with ties to the defunct research institute that gave GSRI its name, said the change would rob them of an identity they’ve built for decades and cost $91,500 to change.

Suna Adam, owner and president of GSRC, led a group of employees who claimed the cost of changing the name on their website, letterhead and other materials would be burdensome.

Employees pointed out there are other streets that can be renamed and pointed out all the development the street has enjoyed illustrates the name isn’t holding it back at all.

Commissioners Tara Wicker, W.T. Winfield, Audrey Nabors Jackson and Sarah Holliday-James voted against the change. Commissioners Darius Bonton, Laurie Marien, John Price and Martha Jane Tassin voted for it. Commissioner James Gilmore was not present.