Des Allemands to parish: ‘Where is our ballpark?’
ALL "GRASSED UP" AND READY TO GO: Paul Hogan, a candidate for parish council, stands on land he says is ready for a baseball park now.
And even though many who live in the area didn’t agree with the parish forking out thousands of dollars to build a park on J.B. Green Road - a street that has been dubbed a hot spot for drug trafficking and crime - parish council candidate Paul Hogan says, “Enough is enough - do what needs to be done to break ground and give these kids a place to play.”
The question that many Des Allemands residents still can’t get an answer to is when will the parish start construction on the long-awaited project?
“Although many residents of Des Allemands didn’t approve of the J.B. Green Road site - the parish chose to buy the land on J.B. Green Road and the park needs to be built,” Hogan told the Herald-Guide in an exclusive interview.
The park timeline spans nearly six years and shows that 10 months have gone by since the 1.75-acre parcel was purchased and although clearing and land fill permits have been submitted, parish workers have slammed into a roadblock.
Officials in the parish’s public works department say that almost the entire site is considered wetlands and since nearly all of the land needs to be cleared to accommodate the ballpark, the parish must now win approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state department of natural resources.
“The revised site plan was submitted to the DNR and Corps the first week of June,” said Greg Bush, director of public works
According to DNR Web site records, the department received the parish’s joint permit application on May 1, but because the original park blueprints ordered for volleyball courts and a walking trail and not an open ballpark - will submitting a revised plan prolong the process even more?
“Submitting the new site plan shouldn’t delay the process at all,” said Bush.
“As soon as the permit is approved, the parish will submit payment for mitigation fees and construction should start within a week.”
Bush says that the only thing that could create any long-term construction would be if a tropical system formed in the Gulf of Mexico or headed for the Louisiana coastline.
Hogan says that he is pleased that the plans have been updated from a traditional playground to more of what the children of Des Allemands need, an open field.
“Volleyball courts would’ve been a great idea if we lived in California or Florida,” said Hogan.
“But we don’t and all the people of Des Allemands wanted was an open field to play sports like baseball and football on,” he continued.
And Hogan doesn’t stand alone. Des Allemands resident Bridget Majors agrees with Hogan saying that the new site plan is one step closer, but also stated that the baseball field should be larger.
“The current plan does show a baseball field, but I think that it will need to be larger to accommodate the town’s recreational needs.” said Majors.
The parish council first considered the idea of a recreational area in Des Allemands in 2001 and narrowed proposed park sites down to two - a 2.56-acre parcel owned by Hogan on Old Spanish Trail and the lot on J.B. Green Road, owned by L.J. Frickey.
Records show that the parish intends on spending $160,000 on the J.B. Green Site. Hogan’s offer would have cost the parish $60,000 and needed no improvements.
“This is the site the community wanted and the people in Des Allemands have been given a bad deal with the other site.”
In January 2005, the parish approved an ordinance to purchase the J.B. Green Road property, but because the land’s owner was in an undisclosed legal litigation, the sale wasn’t finalized until August 2006.
I am pleased that the council is finally adhering to the needs of the Des Allemands residents, but I’ll be even more pleased when I see kids playing ball on the site,” said Hogan.
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