Downtown Development DistrictA Passion for ProgressDowntown Events Coming Up...

North Boulevard Town Square groundbreaking held today
Construction starting next week on key Downtown project

Two significant projects, North Boulevard Town Square, the first project to be implemented from the Riverfront Master Plan, and the redesign of Galvez Plaza are set to begin construction later this month. A groundbreaking ceremony took place today at 10 a.m. on North Boulevard and was attended by Mayor-President Melvin "Kip" Holden, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, members of the Metro-Council, the Downtown Development District, and Department of Public Works.

The two adjacent spaces were designed by Brown+Danos Land Design and Joseph Furr Design Studio- A Joint Venture, Inc w/subconsultants: ABMB Engineers, Inc., Holden Associates; Covalent Logic; PAL Productions; Dufour/Corie Studio, Ltd.; Varsity Sports; Visual-Logic, Inc.; and Chancelier Skidmore for Landscape Architectural Design Services. The project will be constructed by Arrighi Construction, LLC and will transform the currently disjointed area into a cultural epicenter for the City of Baton Rouge. The stage canopy at Galvez Plaza was designed by Trahan Architects and the transit terminal by WHLC, LLC.

"Baton Rouge has such a unique set of civic and cultural attractions that will be highlighted as they merge together in North Boulevard Town Square. With our visionary Mayor and supportive Metropolitan Council, we celebrate this unique groundbreaking for all citizens of the area." commented Davis Rhorer, Executive Director of the Downtown Development District.

Today's groundbreaking officially kicked off Phase I of the project. The first phase will be funded by $5.7 million in City/Parish and Federal Transit Authority funds. Phase II is funded by $1.9 million in leveraged Federal dollars through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. The Downtown Development District is the lead agency responsible for administering the North Boulevard Town Square project, in concert with the Department of Public Works.

"These projects will take our downtown to the next level among American cities," said Mayor Holden, "which increases our ability to attract visitors and new businesses to keep our local economy strong. They also provide a quality of life and space for programs that we hear over and over are important to the people of East Baton Rouge Parish. We have leveraged our city-parish funds to attract federal transportation dollars so we can achieve much more than we could alone. I predict that everyone who comes to downtown Baton Rouge for business, educational or entertainment purposes will benefit in some way from these projects when they are completed."

The median of North Boulevard at Third Street will be transformed into a pedestrian friendly zone that lends itself to the communal environment that the name "Town Square" implies. The Town Square will be a landmark plaza linking cultural and civic assets such as the River Center Campus including City Hall, Old State Capitol, River Center Library, Louisiana Art and Science Museum and the Shaw Center for the Arts.

"The tremendous leadership we have here in Baton Rouge is dedicated to building a downtown where people can work, live, and play - in other words, they are building a vibrant community," commented Sen. Landrieu. "I have been proud to support, and will continue to support, these efforts because I believe they improve the quality of life for all our citizens while attracting private investment and driving economic development."

Bound by River Road on the West, Fifth Street on the East, and building facades on the North and the South, North Boulevard Town Square is envisioned as the social and cultural heart of Baton Rouge. With improved pedestrian traffic flow, the design allows this space to become an identifiable epicenter for the daily visitor as a central arrival node for the city.

North Boulevard Town Square will showcase a media-focused 'Beacon' tower broadcasting transit and other information within a 'Central Plaza' with fountains. Town Square will be a multi-modal transit hub acting as the central transit point into and out of Downtown. Real-time transit information will be displayed in state-of-the-art fashion on the 'Beacon Tower' and terminal signage.

Town Square will also feature a 'Town Lawn' which will be used for relaxation, games, and to view movies and other showings projected across the length of the lawn to the 'Pavilion' at St. Louis Street. The 'Town Lawn' will also be programmed to hold community events such as small concerts, fitness classes, and receptions. In addition, numerous gathering and seating areas are also provided in 'Live Oak Plaza' and 'The Bosque' that can be used for casual business meetings, outdoor classrooms, and other activities.

Beacon Plaza & Town Lawn

Transit terminal

Event stage at Galvez Plaza

Specialty pavement, crosswalks, and curb extensions define the space and ensure pedestrian safety. A reconfiguration of St. Louis Street in relation to North Boulevard and Third Street changes the existing diagonal orientation to a right-angled, squared intersection, adding extra space for the 'Town Lawn' and creating a less confusing pedestrian experience.

Galvez Plaza redesign, which will include a permanent event stage, lawn, and interactive fountain, will showcase existing concerts such as Live after Five and Sounds of Summer, as well as other community, private, and corporate events. The stage area will provide a permanent entertainment venue with improved dance floor space and unobstructed views from the large shaded lawn.

Adding over one acre of green space to Downtown, Town Square and Galvez Plaza are key components in Plan Baton Rouge Phase II's 'Central Green' recommendation. The 'Central Green' concept draws its significance from the aggregation of cultural and civic buildings that surround it, including City Hall, River Center Library, The Old State Capitol, Shaw Center for the Arts, Louisiana Art and Science Museum, River Center Campus, 19th Judicial District Courthouse, River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts, and the two existing Downtown hotels. The distinct and fragmented grounds of these institutions, along with existing public parks - Galvez Plaza and Repentance Park - hold great potential as a unified system of green spaces.

Completion of North Boulevard Town Square and Galvez Plaza is set for January of 2012.

For more information on the Downtown Development District, visit our website.

227 Florida St.  |  Baton Rouge, LA 70801  |  (225) 389-5520 Office (225) 389-5523 Fax  |  8:00 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F

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