Three downtown public spaces are now completed, an achievement Downtown Development District and city-parish officials plan to celebrate at a Dec. 6 ceremony that will begin with ribbon cuttings at 3 p.m. and end with downtown’s Festival of Lights at 6 p.m.
Those projects include:
• North Boulevard Town Square Phase II—a $1.8 million, grant-funded project that includes corridor improvements such as a new Fourth Street Plaza, widened pedestrian paths and at-grade pedestrian crossings all along the St. Phillip Street Promenade and along North Boulevard in front of the Old State Capitol.
• Riverfront Plaza—funded by the state sales tax rebate, some $750,000 worth of both aesthetic and technical improvements to a water garden fountain and plaza area that was originally built in 1984.
• Rotary Centennial Sculpture—A 14-foot-tall stainless steel sculpture that reflects the flow of the Mississippi River and emits a singing sound when visitors approach the sculpture, which was donated to the city-parish by the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge in celebration of its 100-year anniversary.
DDD Executive Director Davis Rhorer tells Daily Report the completion of the three projects marks a significant milestone for the implementation of downtown’s Central Green, a key element of the area’s master plan as envisioned in Plan Baton Rouge.
“It’s about connectivity,” Rhorer says. “Town Square Phase II was a critical component of that because it created a connection between the Downtown Greenway and the Town Square area, and it prioritizes pedestrians.”
The Rotary Sculpture is also noteworthy, says Rhorer, in that it marks the first time in several decades the city of Baton Rouge has commissioned its own sculpture.
“It’s not often you have a sculpture of this magnitude raised by private funds,” he says.
Officials will cut the ribbon on North Boulevard Town Square Phase II, located at the corner of North Boulevard and Fourth Street, at 3 p.m., followed by Riverfront Plaza on South River Road at 4 p.m. and the Rotary Centennial Sculpture, near the intersection of Florida Street and River Road, at 5 p.m.
The evening will culminate at 6 p.m. with the city’s official tree lighting, fireworks, a visit from Santa and other activities taking place at the Festival of Lights.