BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Residents are strongly opposing new plans for the University Lakes project.

Mark Goodson, with CSRS, is the developer working on the LSU Lakes project. Goodson said the people have voiced their opinions about the project.

“A large complicated project, a lot of people are interested and passionate about it,” said Goodson.

The LSU Lakes were man-made back in the 1930s and have required upkeep. According to the LSU Lakes website, they want the lakes’ new design to be resilient, safe, accessible, and active.

However, many Baton Rouge residents who live in the area have concerns about the designs. Their concerns are as follows:

  • The plans do not solve the problems that caused the current sediment and make little attempt to address them.
  • The proposed living shorelines will make the sediment problems worse.
  • The “living shorelines” will be an unsightly habitat for snakes and alligators
  • The proposed bridge and island help nothing and are not wanted.
  • The plans do not adequately address the algae problem
  • The plans do not add enough parking
  • The plans do not address the known problem of sediment contaminated with heavy metals.
  • Many of the “conceptual drawings” are pure fantasy
  • The plans include many features that have never been tested and are not supported by any adequate consideration
  • The plans encroach upon private property
  • There are no plans for maintenance of the land to be created with the dredged material

CSRS called a public meeting Tuesday night to address people’s concerns.

One of the residents, Neil Sweeney, said these plans are a “fantasy” and will not work long-term.

Residents are concerned about the health of the lakes and the staging island crews have built in the middle lake to keep heavy equipment.

Many residents questioned what the island does and pointed it out as an eyesore.

Goodson said the island isn’t permanent. The island is made up of geotubes, which are like socks, says Goodson, soaking up the soft bottom and water of the lanks. For now, the island will stay several more weeks and will continue to be used to put heavy machinery on top of them.

Over $35 million were allocated for the first phase of the project. According to the LSU Lakes Project Details, there is over $50 million committed to moving forward.

“They ignored the advice of all the experts, it’s like it’s a big PR money spending free for all out there,” said Sweeney.