Bill would transfer EKL site

The land on which the now-vacant LSU Earl K. Long Medical Center sits would be transferred to the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority under legislation approved Wednesday by the Louisiana Senate.

State Sen. Sharon Broome got the state Senate to add the provision involving the Airline Highway property to Senate Bill 154, which it then approved 33-1. The bill now moves to the House.

SB154, sponsored by state Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, would authorize a cooperative endeavor agreement for use of certain state property in Orleans Parish.

“It gives us a little flexibility in the interim to develop a plan for what we want for that property,” said Broome, D-Baton Rouge.

The Earl K. Long facility closed April 15 when inpatient care and LSU medical education programs moved to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.

Broome previously had said she would seek state funding to demolish the hospital so it would not become an eyesore. The transfer of the land would prevent it from being declared surplus property and then sold before the community arrives at a plan for the 14-acre tract, she said.

“It’s not any type of agreement for any type of public housing or anything like that,” Broome said. “It’s a mechanism to at least give us some time to come up with a total vision for the property.”

Broome said officials of nonprofit organizations and elected officials are involved in discussions.

“It could end up being something where the Housing Authority is involved, but it won’t be any type of public housing. If anything it will be mixed use, a north Baton Rouge version of Towne Center,” Broome said. “It’s still evolving. It won’t be any antiquated old-scheme of public housing at all.”

The amendment directs the LSU Board of Supervisors and the commissioner of administration to transfer the property on the heavily traveled Airline Highway corridor to the EBR Housing Authority.

The authority has built housing behind the hospital property.