EBRPHA details HUD grant plans

Originally published by the Baton Rouge Business Report.

A $29.5 million grant awarded to Baton Rouge by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be divided four ways, with $19.8 million going toward housing, $4 million to neighborhood work, $4 million to supportive services and $1.7 million to demolition, according to an announcement from the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority. 

Baton Rouge was awarded the funding for use redeveloping the Ardendale-anchored East Fairfield, Smiley Heights and Melrose East neighborhoods. The grant follows a $500,000 award given to EBRPHA by HUD in 2014 to begin the planning process to envision the transformation. The plan has been named BR Choice. 

EBRPHA says it will get to work immediately implementing the plan and over the next 60 to 90 days will meet with the residents of Ardenwood Village to discuss supportive services; execute the Choice Neighborhood grant agreement; convene the transformation team, shareholder groups and community partners; and hire a grants manager.

The BR Choice plan includes a YWCA early learning center, an elementary level charter school, magnet programs in existing schools and youth enrichment programs like dance, music and culinary skills. Resources for adults and seniors are also part of the master plan.

EBRPHA CEO J. Wesley Daniels, Jr. will spearhead the grant implementation and subsequent revitalization, which will take at least five years to fully implement.  

Other key components of the BR Choice Transformation Plan include: mixed-income and market-rate housing, the BRCC McKay Automotive Technology Center, BRCC Automotive Collision Center, and the East Baton Rouge Schools Career and Technology Center.  

The plan also includes an Entrepreneurship/Technology Center, the Red Stick Arts Project and the aforementioned arts and early learning center. The master plan also incorporates BREC parks, the $3.4 million Eden Park library, and numerous educational assets which ensures that the transformed neighborhoods truly focus on the “cradle to career” concept.

Integral Development and Partners Southeast will break ground on the first multi-family phase, Cypress at Ardendale, in July 2020. See the full plan here.