Page 9 - 2021 Annual Report
P. 9

Serving the Community:
3 Ways BREC Connects with our Community
After passionate debate with community leaders and the public over the location of the Baton Rouge Zoo, BREC is nearing completion on key elements of the first phase of the largest single project in its history, a reimagined Zoo and surrounding park, which received input from more than 4,000 residents through public meetings, surveys, social media, stakeholder meetings and a huge Party in the Park celebration. Despite construction and pandemic/weather related closures, Zoo visitation increased 38% in 2020 and 13% in 2021.
In 2021, a state Senator filed a bill to split BREC up into multiple park systems with new Commissions and staff without any input from the public. BREC quickly rallied supporters, partners, and other community constituents who wrote letters and emails to their legislators opposing the bill and also commissioned public input surveys to gather public input which demonstrated opposition. Ultimately, the bill was pulled by the author after almost 100 constituents appeared at the House Committee meeting to formally oppose the bill with only four people in support.
Baton Rouge ranks second in the nation for bicyclist deaths. BREC worked with state, City/Parish and planning leaders to create a parish wide Bicycle/Pedestrian master plan to create 450-miles of connectivity trails. The plan received approval in 2020. Seven trail sections have been completed, BREC received a nearly $4-million grant for a section to connect an underserved area to Downtown and several more are in planning, design, and construction.
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