Debate continues over proposed bill to split up the BREC park system

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) ––– BREC hosted a town hall Thursday evening in response to the proposed bill for the cities of Central and Zachary to break away from the BREC system.

“It looks to pull away funds and assets from BREC and divert them to yet to be created park districts in central and Zachary,” says BREC superintendent Corey Wilson.

He says the system has been consolidated for roughly 75 years, but if the bill passes, it would transfer ownership of the parks in Central and Zachary to the local governments, which he says would hurt BREC.

“It will remove $5 million from the budget, but more than anything, it would have an impact in terms of the perception of our community breaking apart,” Wilson says.

The town hall meeting was held at the Zachary Men’s Club. Wilson says about 30 people were in attendance, and most opposed the bill, “we didn’t hear from anyone who was supporting the bill and they had a lot of concerns, a lot of questions.” Questions on if a plan is in place if the local governments took over the parks.

The mayor of Zachary, David Amrhein, says there is a plane, “I’m not gonna tell BREC until we get it passed, and then I will tell everybody what our plan is because we have one.”

Amrhein says he is fed up with, what he says, is a lack of cooperation from BREC. “They take our money and they don’t give back to a here… now they want me to give them another year… I’ve heard that for 10 years that I’ve been mayor and it becomes empty promises,” Amrhein says.

He says this is not the first time people underestimated the city of Zachary, “the same thing people are saying about us trying to run BREC, is the same thing they said about the lack of being able to run a school system.”

“We feel confident that we can run this better and that that’s what we’re shooting for,” Amrhein says.

Senate Bill 205 is set for consideration by the State Senate.

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