East Baton Rouge residential area looks forward to big changes

[BATON ROUGE] – Within a five-mile radius sits a quiet residential area of East Baton Rouge Parish that will soon see big changes.

The Southeast Baton Rouge Community School District, a proposed school district to pull 10 East Baton Rouge Parish schools from the system into a new system, has passed through the Senate, and is awaiting the verdict from the House of Representatives.  The Southeast Baton Rouge Community School District will include seven elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. If SB 563 and SB 299 pass the House, the next test will be to pass a statewide vote, and more importantly, the vote of East Baton Rouge Parish.

Woodlawn High School, the only high school in the proposed school district, opened its doors to the new school in 2003, and the land it sits on was purchased from the late U.S. Sen. Russell B. Long, son of the late Governor Huey P. Long. Russell Mosely, Sen. Long’s grandson, said, “My grandfather valued education, and if he would have known Woodlawn High School would be a D rated school, I don’t know if he would have sold the land.”

According to the Long Farm Village website, during the summer of 1961, Sen. Long made his first of 10 transactions for land he called “paradise.” The property then totaled 550 acres with a house that the family visited often and eventually became his permanent residence in Louisiana. Mosely will develop 237 acres into the Long Farm Village.

Long Farm Village will take the positive aspects from Perkins Rowe and Towne Center and will create a village that will appeal to every age, said Mosely. “You’re not going to get detached single family developments at any of those other developments,” said Mosely.

The development will include seven neighborhood districts consisting of single-family residences, townhomes, courtyard houses, multi-family residences and active adult/assisted living.

A few aspects residents and non-residents will be able to enjoy are retail stores, restaurants, lakes with walking paths, parks, public pools and meeting places, commercial offices and a grocery store. Mosely said, “My hope is that people will not have to leave the development once it is complete. Live here, and enjoy your life.”

Many residents are worried about the influx of traffic with this development, along with that created when the new Woman’s Hospital open’s Aug. 5.  Robert Bice, resident of Old Jefferson Subdivision, said, “Inadequate infrastructure for the volume of the plan makes me concerned that their research has not covered the kind of volume that it will entail.  They can’t even tell you about the volume of traffic that the hospital alone will bring to the area. Essen Lane used to be a sleepy little street, located through pastures. Now you can’t drive it anytime without sitting in traffic.”

But with the village comes a new street. Antioch Road, which currently runs from Tiger Bend Highway and dead ends at Old Jefferson Highway, will be extended through the development to Airline Highway. Parts of the new Antioch Road will be a four-lane boulevard, and the remainder will be two lanes.

Mosely said, “The new Antioch Road will take 7,000 cars a day without putting one house out here or any building, but there will eventually need to be some improvements on Baringer Foreman Road.  This alone shows it will improve traffic.”

And with the development of a sleepy area comes an exit off the interstate.  The Green Light Plan is making Pecue Lane, which currently dead ends at Perkins Road and overpasses the interstate, an on and off exit ramp to Interstate 10.  According to The Green Light Plan website, the Pecue Interchange will connect to the Stumberg Lane Extension, and create a north-to-south passage between Coursey Boulevard and Interstate 10.

With all this change, the community still remains optimistic. “Despite a potential increase in traffic, the developments will hopefully bring an economic boom to the area,” said Bice.

The Highland District is the first filing scheduled to be developed, and will begin in September.  For more information visit www.longfarmbr.com.

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