Downtown Baton Rouge
The master plan for the downtown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was designed through an interactive public charrette process during which Baton Rouge citizens identified their needs and desires for the downtown. The design team included Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin Lopez Rinehart, Inc. for transportation studies, Gibbs Planning Group for retail studies, Mr. Alexander Garvin for economic implementation, and Ms. Ferrill Ann Coates for landscape design.
The community goals included: establishing the downtown as a cultural, spiritual, and economic center; preserving the historic and regional character of the city as a state capital and showcase for visitors; using existing infrastructure and underutilized features such as the Mississippi river; and creating a 24-hour, pedestrian-friendly city. The planning team filtered these and other needs and desires through two disciplines: every recommendation had to make financial sense for the private sector or have a dedicated source of public-sector funding, and every recommended public sector action had to generate a continuous and sustained private sector reaction. Plan Baton Rouge is seen as a gradual implementation of improvements that are first concentrated in those sectors most fertile for development. The plan stressed the incorporation of the many projects already underway and focused their energy. These included a new planetarium, a new convention center and hotel, a State Capitol renovation, several hotel renovations, and the construction of a new parking garage and several new theaters.
As Mr. Garvin predicted, a small amount of public investment has created a widespread, sustained private reaction. In its tenth year of implementation all 104 projects identified by the master plan are at different stages of engagement, and In the previous decade, over 80% of the projects have been completed, garnering more than $1.5 billion in investment. Currently more than $300 million in projects are being planned or are under construction. Downtown Baton Rouge has also benefited from the consolidation of state government offices as part of the Capitol Park Plan with 14 new buildings constructed in the past 15 years bringing more than 3,500 new employees into the Downtown area.