Grid news

  • images-house.jpg

    Letter from the President: An Update on Security

    Dear Garden District Neighbor,

    Over the last few months, the Garden District Civic Association Board has been re-evaluating the best way to secure and protect the neighborhood using the financial resources provided by our annual dues. This process has led us to review and consider several options over the last few months.

    We have spoken with many fellow Garden District neighbors, both dues and non-dues paying. We have spoken to board members and community leaders of other neighborhoods in our area. We have solicited and received proposals (including sample patrols) from private security firms and finally, we have met with police officers who have worked in our neighborhood and as part of our off-duty patrols.

    After much consideration and weighing all options as a board, as of September 1, we have decided to continue working with the Baton Rouge Police Department. In coming to this decision however, we have also agreed to a new structure for these patrols which are intended to address previously identified shortcomings:

    We will be provided more consistent patrols on a monthly basis, with more days being covered.

    We have implemented a new tracking and reporting method for police officers to track their time

    There is a new “always rolling and patrolling” policy with the officers while they are in the neighborhood.

    We have looked at the entire year of patrols and budgeted additional patrols at peak times as needed.

    A new Coordinator has also been appointed to serve our neighborhood. Officer Jacob Wheat will now be managing all monthly off-duty police officers patrolling the Garden District going forward. Officer Wheat comes to us with an impressive resume as he has served as the Live After Five police coordinator for the last five years and works downtown on a daily basis. Officer Wheat has met with the board and will be in direct contact with the board on a weekly and monthly basis going forward.

    While there is really no correct answer on how best to secure our neighborhood and and unfortunately no proven way to prevent crime, we believe that this conversation and discussion has allowed the board and our off-duty police officers to better understand the needs of the neighborhood. In the end, we believe we can all work together to provide a safe and beautiful neighborhood for our families and friends to live in.

    If you have not already done so, please consider becoming a member of the Garden District Civic Association by paying your monthly, quarterly, or annual dues as these funds are how we pay for the off-duty police officers and their monthly patrols. The more members we have, the more consistent patrols we can provide for everyone. For those wishing to contribute above and beyond existing dues, an additional page has been set up where you can contribute specifically to security patrols in the neighborhood: [https://gdcabr.org/product/additional-security-funds/].

    If you have any additional questions, comments, concerns or if you would like to get involved, please reply to this email or contact us at [[email protected]].

    Sincerely,

    John Christian Williams

    President, Garden District Civic Association

    read more
    John WilliamsLetter from the President: An Update on Security
  • Letter from GDCA President: Security in the Garden District

    Letter from GDCA President

    Dear Garden District Resident,

    There has been some misinformation being spread about the state of security within the Garden District so the Garden District Civic Association (GDCA) Board would like to clarify our current position.

    As it stands today, we pay anywhere from $24,000 – $28,000 per year for security patrols by off-duty Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) officers in the neighborhood, which includes approximately 50-60 hours per month at an hourly rate of $35/hour. Historically, this is the maximum amount of hours that BRPD officers have been able to provide. This is not an insignificant amount, representing the majority of our annual dues, which come from less than 30% of eligible households in the neighborhood. Our goal has always been to be the best stewards of the funds you have entrusted to us.

    That being said, our current security patrols come with some limitations. Chief among them are 1) We are unable to provide much in the way of reporting and transparency, other than “BRPD spent 50 hours in the Garden District this month.” We also do not know when exactly the officers are in the neighborhood, and what they encounter while they are here. 2) BRPD patrols are unwilling to be mobile in our neighborhood, which is not intended as a slight to BRPD, as we all know the mere presence of police can be a deterrent. Therefore, in doing our due diligence, we wanted to look at other potential options, both to get more bang for our buck and to possibly provide additional service beyond what we receive today. Private security is one of the options being considered.

    In considering a potential candidate private security firm, we have the option of having multiple randomly timed patrols every night of the year – this service is not paid on an hourly basis but on a patrol basis thus allowing us to provide more security to the neighborhood for the same price. These patrols include among other things:

    • A complete drive-through of the neighborhood in a clearly-marked vehicle with a flashing light. This includes alleys, if included in the contract.
    • A daily/weekly report, including pictures, of any suspicious activity, which can be posted to our website.
    • A dedicated phone number that is routed directly to the on-duty security personnel for residents to call citing any concerns.
    • Optional a la carte services (billed directly to homeowners), e.g. Upon request, the company will do walk-arounds at people’s homes when they go out of town, or they can meet a homeowner late at night for a walk-in to their home.
    • The ability to scale up and a less expensive rate. If the neighborhood wants more frequent patrols, we can do that and again, every night of the year.
    • All of this, at less than we currently pay for 50-60 hours of stationary patrol per month.

    Contrary to what was reported online, no formal decision has been made. The Board had approved splitting our existing funds 50/50 between BRPD and a private firm. The idea was that this would give us the opportunity to try something new out and possibly give the neighborhood additional and more frequent service. When approached by the GDCA Board, BRPD was clear that such an arrangement was not incentive enough for their off-duty officers to come to our neighborhood, and it would therefore be an all-or-nothing decision.

    This is where we currently sit. Following the response from BRPD today, the Board will make a decision on how best to proceed. Some of you have voiced displeasure at this process and even stated that you will no longer pay your dues if BRPD is not used. If a decision is ultimately made to go that way, we would encourage everyone to keep an open mind and not make any rash decisions. BRPD has made it clear that even if we go this direction, they are willing to resume the current patrol situation at any time.

    As always, your Board is doing the best possible job we can to serve our neighborhood, and we always invite interested parties to participate in this process by joining and serving. If you would like to join the Board or participate on a committee, please email us at [email protected] with your interest.

    ​Thank you,

    John Christian Williams
    President, Garden District Civic Association
    [email protected]

    read more
    John WilliamsLetter from GDCA President: Security in the Garden District
  • The Puryear Family Adopts 4 Month Old Luca Arden Puryear

    On Monday, August 1st, the Puryear family at 1015 Park Blvd received a call from the St. Elizabeth non-profit adoption agency that a birth mother had picked them to adopt her beautiful 4 month old baby boy. The Puryear’s, which includes Dustin, Ellie, and 9-year old son Cooper, had been working toward an adoption for several months. Monday was the lucky day. The phone call came in at 1pm — while Dustin was in New Orleans on business having lunch — and after a mad rush home to Baton Rouge, Dustin, his wife, and his son had bought diapers, clothes, and a few days worth of food. By 6pm the paperwork had been signed and the Puryear family grew by one new boy who they named Luca Arden Puryear. The family is extremely excited and already adapting to again having a baby in the house. They welcome visitors but please email Ellie ahead of time to ensure the baby is awake to get maximum “oohs” and “aaahs” during the visit. Her email is [email protected]

    read more
    John WilliamsThe Puryear Family Adopts 4 Month Old Luca Arden Puryear
  • New Dog Stations

    We love your dog just as much as you do. Thanks to your dues and the hard work of the Cub Scouts of Pack 12, there are now six dog stations located around the Garden District to make your daily walks all the better!These Dogi Pot stations offer a green solution to dog pollution, providing dog owners a disposable bag to clean up after their four-legged friend.Find the station nearest you:DOG DISPENSER LOCATIONS

    read more
    John WilliamsNew Dog Stations
  • Neighborhood Signs and Bollards – Do We Landscape? By Mike Schexnayder

    The Garden District has three neighborhood signs: Terrace at Eugene, Park at Magnolia and Government at Park.  Rusty Wharton (a former GD resident) directed the installation of the signs and the five bollards in the early 1990’s.  Those signs are sturdy: two have survived automobile collisions. Former resident Frank Conley repaired the sign on Terrace when it was hit by a truck several years ago. The one at Government was hit on Christmas Eve 2014.  Like the one on Terrace, the sign itself survived, but not the posts. New posts have been installed. During the last year Mary Fontenot, Martha Salomon, and Geraldine Champagne repainted the signs in a new color scheme, while Dorothy Powell and Nancy Grush repainted the bollards. (There is one bollard left to paint, if anyone wants to do it.) Mary Fontenot has recently painted the letters on the sign at Government St., and would like input before she does the lettering on the other signs.

    The city has finished its sidewalk improvements on Government St., and now it’s time to landscape the area in front of the signs, beginning with the one on Government because the Baton Rouge Water Company has a pipe at that location.  They can install a water meter for $360 assuming they do not have to break any concrete.  The monthly minimum bill would be $8.52 plus tax.  We could install a drip irrigation system with a battery-powered controller similar to other neighborhoods.

    Diane Geheber planted a flower bed there several times, but city workers consistently pulled up or mowed over the flowers. The soil would have to be significantly amended, and we would have to communicate with the city to insure our plants are not destroyed the next time they mow the median. Do we have people in the neighborhood willing to work on this project? If you can help with any part of this project, please contact Mike Schexnayder at [email protected].

    read more
    John WilliamsNeighborhood Signs and Bollards – Do We Landscape? By Mike Schexnayder
  • Caring for Canine Companions by Chris Barrett

    Now that the summer months are here, many of us are spending more time outdoors with our dog family members.  This makes it a good time to revisit some key ways to keep your canine companion safe and to keep our neighborhood a dog-friendly place.

    First and most important, when you’re outside your house or fenced yard, be sure your pooch is on a leash.  It’s the law, but it’s also the best way to protect your beloved barker while you’re in the front yard or out for a walk.  Your dog might be exceptionally mild-mannered, well-trained, and social, but if she’s off a leash, she’s in danger.  A passing car, a sudden distraction, or other animals all can cause trouble–sometimes serious–for off-leash Fido.  It’s worth remembering, too, that many people are afraid of dogs (no doubt because they haven’t gotten to know your Fluffy or Rex); even the friendliest unleashed dog can seem terrifying. So keep your furry friend safe and popular with a stylish leash–it’s both neighborly and the law.

    Second, be sure to clean up after your dog.  Sure, like the leash, it’s the law, but there is another reason to do this: nothing says “My dog is an excellent neighbor” like the gentle crinkling sound of a poop bag unfurling in the summer breeze.  To make it easy to gather up your dog’s deposits, the Garden District Civic Association is setting up poop bag stations at several points around the district.  Feel free to take one (or more!) to help keep Muffin feeling dignified on your walks.  More info on these and other Animal Control Ordinances is available here: https://brgov.com/dept/animal/petowner.htm

    Finally, look out for Snowball in the depth of Baton Rouge’s mind-blowingly hot summer.  Never leave your fluffball in a parked car, even for just a couple minutes.  Limit your dog’s activity outside, and be sure she gets plenty of water when you go for a walk; whenever possible, walk on the street-side grass, to avoid your munchkin burning his paws on the hot asphalt or sidewalk.  You can cool your summer-loving canine down with make-at-home peanut butter popsicles, but always make sure there’s lots of shade and water for your companion, both inside and outside your house.  In the event of loss of power, be sure you have an emergency plan for preventing heatstroke in your furred friends.  For more tips on keeping your pooch cool when the power goes out, what to do when you see a dog in a parked car on a hot day, how to make dog-friendly pupsicles, and more, see the Humane Society’s suggestions here:  http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pets_safe_heat_wave.html

    read more
    John WilliamsCaring for Canine Companions by Chris Barrett
Grid Blog