Green Light Project Hurting Local Businesses

POSTED: Monday, February 16, 2009 - 7:32pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:57pm

Some Baton Rouge business owners want to put the brakes on the city’s Green Light Program. They say it’s putting them in a financial traffic jam. It’s the price some are paying for progress: the Green Light Program could shut down parking lots and ultimately businesses too.

The half-mile stretch of North Harrell’s Ferry Road, running between Old Hammond to Sherwood Forest, has been transformed into a one way construction zone. It may be an eyesore now, but Fran Ferguson says within a matter of weeks, “Everyone is going to benefit from it when it’s all finished.”

The Fergusons live in the Lakes of Aubinwood Subdivision right off North Harrell’s Ferry Road. The couple has lived there for five years and say the road is in desperate need of renovations. “It was dangerous. It had open trenches with the drainage and now they’re really making it where it’s really useful for everybody where it’s three lanes, making it easier to get out of our subdivision that way and the other people that work here.”

Under the Green Light Program road improvement projects like these are popping up all over East Baton Rouge, but unfortunately not everyone is as excited as the Fergusons to see change.

A perfect example is Jay’s Donuts, which has sat on the corner of O’Neal Lane and South Harrell’s Ferry Road for 20 years. For its owner Jay Lindsey, “It’s the way we make our living and it’s the way we have made our living for quite a long time.”

According to the city’s plans, the streets will soon undergo some heavy construction to widen the two roads. Unfortunately, the plans fall right on top of Lindsey’s property. “They’re going to be taking that parking lot which will leave us none, so we will have no place for our customers to park and we’ll have to move.”

Lindsey says when it comes to selling donuts; customers demand availability and convenience, something that will be greatly hindered by not having enough space. “If you can’t park to next to where the people are going to shop, they’re going to go somewhere else.”

The Lindseys don’t know where they’ll go if and when they shut down. They say they’re taking it day by day.