Church plans to build community park

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 2010



LAPLACE – Vacant grass lots in the 600 block of Cardinal Street in LaPlace will soon be home to an expanded recreational facility thanks to a land deal between a local Baptist church and St. John the Baptist Parish government.

Earlier this month, the St. John Parish Council unanimously approved the sale of three lots to Rising Star Baptist Church.

The church acquired the land, which is situated directly across the street from the church, for about $30,000.

Rev. Donald August, Rising Star Church pastor, said the church is planning to use the lots as an expanded recreation facility for neighborhood children.

“We wanted something that would get used by all members of the community and not just members of the church,” August said. “The community has wanted a park in this area for some time, and now we may be able to give it to them.”

August said the church already owns a small concrete basketball court across from the church and just north of the newly acquired land that is often occupied by kids of all ages.

The new land will allow the church to expand on the popular hang out spot.

“There’s rarely a day where there isn’t someone on this court,” August said.

“The kids come from all over the area and often play as long as they have enough light. It keeps them off the street and gives them a safe place to hang out with other people their age.”

August said the new lots offer the church enough space to build a regulation sized basketball court with some room to spare.

He said the church also wants to install some gazebos, plant new trees, add some playground equipment and possibly add a small walking track.

“We have a lot of church activities that carry on outside, and this will give us more space to be more flexible,” August said. “It also gives us an opportunity to keep a handle on what is happening in the community. It will be a great ministry opportunity to get the youth more involved.”

August said the existing basketball court, added in the mid 1980s by former pastor Clarence Alvis, would be converted to an expanded parking area for the church’s growing congregation.

“We have never had to expand parking before, but this is an ideal opportunity to add more space to the area,” August said.

August explained the church, established in 1926, is situated smack in the middle of what known as the “Woodland Quarters.”

He said the close-knit community was built on what was once the slave quarters for the Woodland Plantation Home.

August has been pastor at the church since 1995.

“We are a strong community with a lot of good history,” he said. “Hopefully this new venture will help us go stronger.”