St. John digs in for $2M in parks & recreation upgrades slated for completion by January
Published 12:15 am Saturday, July 11, 2015
LAPLACE — Over $2 million in enhancements to parks and recreational spaces all over the St. John the Baptist Parish are underway, as a ground breaking ceremony was held Wednesday for the parish’s Recreation Improvements Project.
“We’re very pleased to make this investment in our community,” Parish President Natalie Robottom said.
David Dupre with Meyer Engineers Ltd. outlined project upgrades at the ceremony, which include a new gazebo, football/soccer field and spray park, as well as two new play sets with softile play surface, for Reserve’s Regala Park.
Four fitness stations are slated for Thomas F. Daley Memorial Park, formerly known as Highway 51 Park, as well as a new spray park, dog park, new softile play surface for the existing play set and upgrades to the soccer fields.
Ezekial Jackson Park is set to receive a new play set with softile play surface, as well as two fitness stations. Two gazebos are included in plans for Belle Pointe Park, as is a fitness station, new play surface for the two existing play sets and a new play set with softile play surface.
One gazebo with a picnic table, as well as softile play surface for two existing play sets, is included in the plans for Stephanie Wilking Park, and the Wallace Bridge Park will receive a new play set with softile play surface.
A new ADA accessible play set with softile surface, new swing set with safety surface, new safety surface for the three existing play sets and a new fitness station are in the works for Greenwood Park, while Cambridge Park is set to receive several additions, including a new gazebo, new bathroom building, fitness station and softile play surface for the existing play set.
Emily C. Watkins Park will be upgraded with a fitness station and a new play set with softile surface, while the Peavine Boat Launch will receive an asphalt parking lot.
The West Bank Complex will receive two gazebos and a new play set with softile surface, while Harold Scott Roussel Park will receive a new play set with softile surface and two new benches.
Parish Council Chairman Michael Wright said the project’s upgrades improve the infrastructure of the parish, and serve as an investment into area youth.
Dupre said, weather permitting, the upgrades would be completed by January.
In December the St. John Parish Finance Committee approved a $229,118 agreement between parish administration and Meyer Engineers Ltd. for the design, construction, administration and inspection services of the over $2 million in improvements to parish parks, playgrounds and recreation facilities recommended in the 2013 Parks Master Plan.
The Parks Master Plan was completed by Meyer Engineers and includes upgrades, repairs and improvements to each park and the proposed costs for each project. Over 40 projects, all funded through the 2014 bond issue, are included in the plan.
The Parks Master Plan, which includes the complete list of upgrades slated for the future, can be viewed at sjbparish.com by clicking on “Government” and then “Parks and Recreation.”
Robottom said Monday this round of improvements would add to the quality of life for parish youth, adults and seniors.
“There are many, many more projects in the Master Plan,” Robottom said. “As we get more money, we will complete them.”
She said in 2012 parish voters approved the first millage in parish history to support parish-wide recreation, and subsequently that millage has generated close to $1 million annually for general operations and maintenance of existing facilities and staffing.
Passage of a bond issue in 2013 meant $3 million was dedicated to parks and recreation, Robottom said, adding $2.3 million will go toward improvements identified in the Parks Master Plan from 2013, with an additional $300,000 going toward completion of the Mississippi River Trail and the Timbermill Trail.
Robottom encouraged residents to do their part in keeping the parks and public spaces clean, and to report any vandalism.
“Each time we have to go back and fix something that was damaged, it’s less money we have to do new things,” she said.
Jeremy Landry of LA Contracting Enterprise LLC, the project contractor, said the improvements to the recreation program are something parish residents should be proud of.