Residents looking to change Ascension Parish parks; Public meetings announced

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POSTED: Friday, March 14, 2014 - 8:13pm

UPDATED: Friday, March 14, 2014 - 10:29pm

Spring is nearing, the sunshine, short sleeves, and spending time outdoors  But some residents are saying, "It's not working. We've got to figure something out."  People in Ascension Parish say the parks aren't up to par

Council Chairman Chris Loar says, "We're working with a group of citizens who came to us and said they'd like to see some improvements in recreation."  That's where the Envision our Parks Plan comes in. Residents made lists of all the parks across Ascension Parish and the broken equipment, grafitti, and problems they want to see straightened up. They also drafted a possible sportsplex, jogging trail and performing arts facility, but it doesn't come cheap.

"We're looking at about probably an estimate of about 25 million dollars to really get this where we need. Again, we have no dedicated funding for recreation," What that means is how some parish recreational associations use tax dollars, Ascension Parish doesn't have any of that.    

In their community, it's something some council members say they need.  "We're losing money to other parishes. Parents are taking them elsewhere for these tournaments.  It's a lot of studies that prove, the more you spend on recreation, the more we're actually saving down the line in juvenile crime costs delinquency and health and wellness"

Some agree.  "It gets kids out the house instead of watching TV all day," said Jacob McCullough, as he played basketball at one of Ascension Parish's parks. I think It's really good for the community. It gives kids something to do."
And these two basketball players say the parks are on their way.Nicholas Ducote explained, "For instance, It used to be a lot of grafitti on that one over there, but they cleaned that up pretty good."

Still, residents say this plan is much more than just playtime--it's their children's futures on the line.  "We have the youngest parish in the entire State," said Loar.  "It doesn't have to be controlled by Ascension Parish government by any means. We just want to see these kind of improvements for our kids and our community."

Public input meetings will be held from 6pm-8pm; March 17th at the St. Amant Community Center, March 18th at the Lamar Dixon Gym, and March 19th at the Geismar Community Center.


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