Letter: Tax renewal reinforces BREC’s expansion

I would like to thank the voters of East Baton Rouge Parish for supporting our parks with the recent approval of BREC’s tax renewal. As you know, this funding will provide about half of our operating and maintenance budget and all of our construction funding for the next 10 years.

I look at this renewal as a message that voters believe BREC kept its promises to taxpayers and is making dramatic progress in our efforts to transform the system through the Imagine Your Parks program passed by voters in 2004.

Through that program, we now have 12 community parks, five dog parks, Liberty Lagoon water park, Central Sports Park, skate parks, fishing ponds, a new conservation area for hikers and nature lovers, improved playgrounds, splash pads, a growing trails system and a mobile playground unit. The plan also funded renovations to our neighborhood parks and special use facilities, which include the Baton Rouge Gallery, Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo, Botanic Gardens, Cohn Arboretum, Independence Park Theatre, Farr Park Equestrian Center, golf courses, Highland Road Observatory and Magnolia Mound Plantation.

We know our work is not finished. We have recently completed 34 public meetings seeking input into our new 10-year strategic plan, and we know you want to see us put more resources into updating the zoo, create a parishwide series of trails to connect all of our parks for walkers, runners and bike riders and participate in a significant revitalization project for the lakes in the City-Brooks Community Park area.

We will hold a parishwide meeting at 6 p.m. May 1 at the Independence Theatre to show the public all of the ideas we have collected and get their input before we begin writing the new strategic plan, which will guide us through the next 10 years of progress.

Please participate in this planning process so we can give residents a parks system that will make this community a healthier, safer and economically vibrant place to live, work and play.

Thanks again for the support of BREC.

Please know that we will continue to strive to exceed your expectations and provide a great value and return on taxpayers’ investment.

Carolyn McKnight

BREC Superintendent

Baton Rouge