John Christian Williams
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A small green space in the heart of Baton Rouge is a little retreat to paradise for many residents like Michael Chol.
The BREC City-Brooks Community Park is home to the oldest municipal golf course in Baton Rouge and many Baton Rouge citizens think the park should be more open and accessible to the general public.
However, long time golfers like Michael know the course is an important asset to the community.
“I think the golf course should stay at City Park because it is a really accessible and inexpensive way, one, to teach kids how to play golf. Secondly, it is also so convenient,” says Chol.
In 2004, BREC asked the public to “Imagine Your Parks”. Citizens voiced their needs for City Park and BREC responded by adding a new tennis complex, a dog park and a playground.
Oliver and his mom Ellen Alderman come to the playground at City Park three or four times a week. They live just a short walk down the street in the Garden District.
“It is kind of, for our neighborhood, a gathering place at times where all of our kids can play,” says Alderman. “We live in a more urban environment and we really don’t have big backyards.”
Ellen and her husband, Patrick Alderman, took part in the BREC surveys in 2004 and never imagined what would come of it.
“It was before we had our son and once we had him, we realized what an impact the entire park redo had,” says Alderman.
This January, BREC will launch a new campaign and once again ask the community to reimagine their parks. This new ten-year campaign will give Baton Rouge residents a new chance to share their voice.
For now, the debate over City Park will continue and until changes are made and new public opinions are voiced, the park will remain an escape for golfers like Michael Chol and a place of imagination for children like Oliver Alderman.
To view an interactive map of City-Brooks Community Park, click here.