The Town of Brusly held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new St. James Park on November 16 at 1 pm, on the corner of East Main at Kirkland.
The 33,000 square-foot park ties into the Mississippi River levee walking and biking trail entrance in Brusly. The site’s long greenspace will culminate in a main pavilion which includes a covered stage area, the town’s bike-share racks, restrooms, and drinking fountains. An additional small pavilion surrounded by trees will be available for gatherings, and a designated area for food trucks will enhance future community celebrations.
“What a big day!” said Mayor Scot Rhodes at the groundbreaking. “I am excited for the Town of Brusly.” In attendance were the planning committee, town and parish council members and employees, architecture firm Tipton Associates, and general contractor Kelly Construction Group.
In its prime spot along the levee trail, the St. James Park is a new landmark for Brusly. The name for the park comes from an 1854 town map, showing a St. James Square in nearly this same area. “The map was created before the Mississippi River levee was built. A park was planned in this area 167 years ago!” said Mayor Rhodes. “It was an easy decision.”
The name is not the only connection to the past. Along the Legacy Walk, which runs the length of the park, visitors can scan QR codes with their cell phones to learn more about the town’s history.
“Creating well-designed, engaging public spaces should not be relegated to large cities. Small municipalities also need areas to congregate and gather,” said Chris James, project architect at Tipton Associates, APAC. “With everything from the selected plant species to the architecture of the pavilions, we’re anchoring the park in its local context. This builds a sense of belonging in the community.” Tipton Associates, a Baton Rouge-based firm specializing in architecture, planning, and interiors, has worked with the Town of Brusly to develop the plans for the park since 2019. Previously, Tipton collaborated with West Baton Rouge Parish on the recreational trails that tie into the park as well as the coinciding parish master plan, PlanWEST.
“I’d like to thank my council for supporting our ideas and allowing us to build this great park,” said Mayor Rhodes. “This will be a huge asset for the town, and I look forward to the day I can say, See you at the square!”
The park is scheduled to be completed in February 2022. The general contractor is Kelly Construction Group. Engineering consultants include Southeast Engineers, Fox-Nesbit, and ADG Engineering.