An initiative to beautify high visibility sections of East Baton Rouge Parish will kick off this weekend in the College Drive/Perkins Road corridor.
The beautification effort is a result of a collaboration between city-parish government and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
About 30 employees from the city-parish Department of Public Works will work in an area stretching from South Acadian Thruway to College, going as far north as Jefferson Highway, said Rowdy Gaudet, the city-parish’s assistant chief administrative officer. They’ll pick up litter, straighten out tilted street signs, patch up broken curbs and trim trees.
Logan Anderson, director of policy and research for BRAC, said the idea to work on beautification came out of the organization’s efforts to lure companies to the area. More and more people are deciding what cities they want to live in, then starting to look for a job, instead of going where employment takes them.
“Quality of place is becoming more important from an economic development perspective,” he said. “The way you maintain a city and make it an appealing place to people imputes all of our work in this. “
By cleaning up the corridor, Anderson said the city-parish is setting a new standard for how all areas should look. The hope is the work will also lead the Department of Public Works to identify obstacles in the current system and determine ways to improve operations, such as using different types of street signs or setting up tree trimming at scheduled intervals.
“Doing this in the College-Perkins corridor will have a direct impact on a lot of people because the area is in really poor condition and it’s heavily traveled with a lot of pedestrians,” Anderson said.
Already, plans are being made for a second beautification effort in early 2018, this time in the Plank Road-Evangeline Street area. Gaudet said the hope is to get volunteers to work alongside the public works employees. And BRAC is working to identify more parts of the parish for similar cleanup campaigns.
“Hopefully, we can get a good number of volunteers,” Gaudet said. “We would welcome it.”