BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Perkins Overpass is known for its nightlife and foot traffic, and eyesores. Now, the eyesores could soon be getting a makeover.
“It’s very dangerous. It’s very narrow. Cars are going by really fast. You also got the parking lot itself there which is just a mess,” said Shannon Blakeman, CARBO Landscape Architecture.
Businesses near the Perkins Overpass are proposing a 2.5 million dollar plan. This plan features a park for biking and walking, improved parking, more lighting, and more beautification.
CARBO Landscape Architecture is in charge of creating the plans. Shannon Blakeman says safety is one of their top priorities.
“It is ADA accessible. ADA as in American Disability Act. But that was an important thing. We wanted to make sure it was usable for everyone,” he said.
BLDG 5 restaurant owner Misti Broussard says she got involved. Because three districts intersect at the underpass, she wants to fill the barrier.
It’s the idea of connecting the different communities. Right now there is this kinda physical barrier and there shouldn’t be when there is a natural path right there,” she said.
Members of the City-Parish say they support the project. However, it’s too soon to tell how much money the city will pitch in.
The businesses say the recent I-10 widening project construction moving up to February 2023, will impact parking.
“We have been working on this as a team for two years. We’ve done everything from raising $40,000 in funds ourselves to identifying future sources of funding, to working with the mayor and city officials and every step of the way we’ve received incredible support,” said Jenni Peters, owner of Varsity Sports.
“Efforts in the past have always fell flat or stopped for one reason or another. We just decided we didn’t want to take no for an answer,” said Broussard.
The city is looking to use some MOVEBR funds to help fund the project. The businesses are also looking for grants and private fundraising.