BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced the proposal to use about $73 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds for several initiatives in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Additionally, $22 million of ARPA funds approved by the Metro Council in June 2021 for drainage initiatives, which have been used to clean 3,800 storm drains and pipes, removing millions of pounds of sediment and debris.
“We are putting these funds to work for the benefit of all our residents and businesses in East Baton Rouge Parish. We identified the greatest needs in our community and are offering shared solutions for issues like drainage, crime, the economy and our health,” said Mayor Broome. “I ask the Metro Council give careful consideration to our proposals.”
The proposed initiatives for the latest allocation of funds are:
· $20 million for additional drainage improvements:
o $6 million for drainage box and pipe cleaning
o $1 million for roadside drainage cave-ins
o $1 million for roadside ditch cleaning
o $1.4 million for engineering/project management
o $5 million for Jones Creek Watershed drainage improvements
o $5.6 million for channel clearing and grubbing
o $14.2 million for Community Violence Intervention Initiatives:
o $1.8 million to increase and enhance the BRPD’s technological capabilities, benefiting law enforcement throughout East Baton Rouge Parish including automated license plate readers and technology for strategic community camera programs.
o $3.3 million to implement gun violence reduction strategies in areas dominated by gun violence and increase community policing.
o $8 million for the replacement of BRPD patrol units and other vehicles.
o $100,000 for the Chances-Innovative Gun-Violence Intervention Program administered by the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney’s Office (EBRPDA), a program that will target youthful offenders who have been identified as most at risk of either committing a gun violence offense or being victimized by gun violence.
o $100,000 for the expansion of the Hospital Violence Intervention Program (HVIP) administered by the EBRPDA, a program that focuses on patients who are victims of violence/intentional injuries and seeks to capitalize on such potentially life-altering moments in an effort to disrupt the cycles, and further perpetuation of violence. Studies show that survivors of violent/traumatic experiences are significantly more likely to be re-victimized and/or become violent offenders themselves.
o $150,000 for the Innovative Opioid Project which will enable EBRPDA to test, establish, and implement innovative programs focused on public health and public safety enhancements by collecting and sharing data.
o $500,000 for additional special prosecutors and public defenders on matters relating to the ongoing backlog of cases.
o $250,000 for youth employment programs that directly address the negative economic impacts of the pandemic on young people and their families and communities.
· $4 million for premium pay to essential employees (this proposal is pending an Attorney General opinion).
· $2 million for Economic Development and Tourism Initiatives in response to the pandemic’s negative impact on the tourism industry and related sectors.
· $9.6 million for equipment upgrades for Baton Rouge Fire Department including emergency vehicles and facilities.
· $2.25 million for blight elimination which could include removing or demolishing dilapidated buildings or structures and clearing vegetative growth and debris from vacant lots.
· $1.4 million for security and COVID-19 safety upgrades at the entrances of City Hall which could include the installation of new doors with hands-free capability to limit the transmission of the coronavirus and other viruses, metal detectors and possession scanners, and check-in kiosks that provide information for constituents and employees.
· $4 million for HVAC upgrades to improve the indoor air quality and ventilation at the River Center arena, City Hall, the Public Safety Complex, the Louisiana Arts and Science Museum and the Advanced Traffic Management building.
· $1.2 million to provide proper office space for social distancing at the Public Safety Complex.
· $2 million for upgrades at BRPD’s First and Second Precinct Headquarters.
· $6 million to provide partial funding for the proposed Housing for Hero development, a multi-use low and moderate-income housing development for essential workers and professionals located in a Qualified Census Tract area.
· $1.5 million to provide partial funding for a two-story mixed-use, mixed-income, urban development on Plank Road that will include an Early Head Start center run by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) of Greater Baton Rouge.
· $1.9 million to enhance City-Parish cybersecurity technology software and infrastructure.
· $3 million for grant and program administration to assist with the administering and reporting requirements of the American Rescue Plan Act funding.