Baton Rouge, La. (July 14, 2021) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC), Baton Rouge North Economic Development District, Build Baton Rouge, and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome today joined Governor John Bel Edwards and Senator Regina Barrow in celebrating the passage of SB227, Barrow’s bill to establish an economic development district (EDD) along the Plank Road Corridor in North Baton Rouge. The bill marks an important milestone in accelerating economic development in the North Baton Rouge area.
“It is vitally important to me to see economic development that is linked to employment and income opportunities for residents in the North Baton Rouge area. When North Baton Rouge thrives, our entire city and parish thrives. I will continue to be an advocate for economic development that grows existing businesses and welcomes new businesses in North Baton Rouge,” said Senator Barrow.
The EDD was created in collaboration with and supported by a broad coalition of community organizations including BRAC, Baton Rouge North Economic Development District, Build Baton Rouge, and the Office of Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.
“Reinvestment in disinvested communities is critical to the success of Baton Rouge’s economy,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC. “This step of creating an EDD in North Baton Rouge will encourage greater levels of successful Black business ownership, foster wealth creation in Black communities, and drive greater community reinvestment and greater access to employment. BRAC identified this priority as part of our legislative agenda, and we are pleased to see it becoming a reality.”
The EDD will include Plank Road from its southern origin to Hooper Road and surrounding areas. The legislation allows for the creation of a governing board of the EDD that allows for tax revenue generated in the EDD to be utilized for redevelopment. The EDD ensures that tax revenues from increased economic activity in the district are invested within the district’s boundaries, while not diminishing the prior level of tax collections for the City-Parish. The EDD, combined with anticipated increased private investment, is set to prime the area for a renaissance.
“When we work together, we win. Thanks to Build Baton Rouge, the Mayor’s Office, Senator Barrow, and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber for shining a light of economic opportunity for an area of our Parish ripe with opportunity,” said Dr. James Gilmore, chairman of the Baton Rouge North Economic Development District.
“When we launched the Imagine Plank Road Plan for Equitable Development three years ago, we knew it would set in motion other efforts that would help build a critical mass of activity and resources to catalyze equitable, transformative development,” said Chris Tyson, CEO of Build Baton Rouge. “The EDD is another tool to advance the Plank Road masterplan and we thank Senator Barrow and all of our partners for their continued support of the Plank Road corridor.”
“Creating economic opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses in our underserved neighborhoods is an important step to revitalizing those communities. Success begins when we empower our citizens to create their own wealth so they can reinvest in their own neighborhoods – this economic development district is but another example of that pathway to empowerment,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.
Attached photo from the ceremonial signing held today, July 14.
About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,400 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at brac.org.