Franklin Associates is pleased to be among a group of volunteers lending their expertise to a redevelopment site challenge in Baton Rouge. The 14 acre parcel at 5825 Airline Highway is the site of the former Earl K. Long Medical Center, which closed its doors in 2013 and sat vacant for more than a year. During 2015 all thirteen buildings on the site are being demolished, leaving a significant opportunity for redevelopment in this highly visible North Baton Rouge location. The project was organized by State Senator Sharon Weston Broome, State Representative Regina Barrow and Metro Council member Ronnie Edwards who first wanted to ask their constituents: “What would you like to see built on this site?”
Senator Broome reached out to Franklin Associates and other local consultants, public agency representatives, and university academics. James Taylor, AICP and Perry Franklin responded by helping with organization, facilitation, and staffing of two public meetings held at the S.E. Mackey Center near the former hospital site. Many good ideas have been shared and recorded during the process with residents and business owners indicating both what they would like to see and also what they definitely do not want to see built on the property. Graduate students from LSU’s School of Landscape Architecture prepared two conceptual design alternatives, and researchers at Southern University’s School of Business conducted an economic analysis and profile.
Web design students at Baton Rouge Community College assisted by launching a website for the project: www.5825airline.org which offers meeting recaps to the public and information about upcoming meetings or events. Senator Broome and others are now speaking with bona fide developers to gain an understanding of their issues, concerns, and ideas for the site. The process will function as a conduit, sending information from public to developer, and back again so that this land parcel can once again become something of value to the community as a whole.