More kids participating in rec sports
By Renee Simpson
Volleyball is one of the hottest sports in St. Charles Parish, according to a recent annual report by Parks and Recreation Director Duane Foret.
He described the sport, now in its third year, as a “shining star” among the many recreational offerings made by the department. Since 2009, participation is up 23 percent to about 300 girls on 25 teams.
The department is parlaying that success into a multi-pronged initiative to upgrade recreational facilities in the parish’s underserved communities, as pinpointed in a recent needs assessment.
The parish was able to begin work in 2010 on what will become a premiere facility in the Luling area south of Highway 90 - Rathborne Park - through a federal Recreational Trails Program grant. Contractors poured and striped a 0.84-mile multi-use trail at the site, located at the end of Lakewood Drive, using $90,385 in grant funding. Currently, contractors are installing a ball field, playground equipment, picnic tables, parking lot, benches and pavilions as part of a second phase of development.
A grant from the same entity in the amount of $100,000 will fund an additional parking lot and park lighting at Killona Park in 2011.
Foret acknowledged areas for improvement, saying his department is actively seeking funding to provide further recreational facilities in the communities of Boutte, Destrehan, Luling and St. Rose. One area of deficiency will be alleviated in the upcoming months as work gets started on the parish’s new 23,000-square-foot community center, which will include gym space.
Other 2010 highlights include the grand opening of Wetland Watchers Park in Norco and playground equipment additions at both Montz Park and Keller Street Park in Hahnville. Monsanto Park in Luling gained a much-needed new pavilion put to use for birthday parties, reunions and other public gatherings.
Recreational sports also got an upgrade with the addition of covered and cemented dugouts at Des Allemands Park and resurfaced tennis courts at the West Bank Bridge Park.
Projected projects for 2011 include a 50- by 125-foot metal pavilion addition at the West Bank Bridge Park; a storage facility, pavilion and picnic tables at the New Sarpy Booster Club Park; field lighting at Boutte Booster Club Park; the addition of two baseball fields, a pavilion and picnic tables at Montz Park and playground equipment at Ama Park.
Foret also complimented his department’s many community volunteers for providing over 53,000 hours of work in 2010.
“We’re only as good as our volunteer base, and as you can tell, we have a very strong one,” he said.
In addition, St. Charles Parish will proudly host the 2011 Louisiana Babe Ruth Softball State Championships, bringing hundreds of families in for a significant economic impact.
To see video of this report and others, log on to www.vimeo.com/stcharlesgov. For more information about St. Charles Parish Parks and Recreation or for information on participating in its programs, visit stcharlesparish-la.gov/recreation or call (985) 783-5090. The recreation office is located at 171 Keller Street in Hahnville.
Recreation quick facts
•Six parish-owned or leased boat launches.
•Maintain 317 acres.
•Manage 50 recreational sites, 27 parish-owned and 23 leased.
•Youth cheerleading, baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball, track and volleyball.
•Special needs programs in Challenger Baseball, Shooting Stars Basketball, bowling, Special Olympics and more.
•Youth summer camp.
•Adult basketball and softball, radio controlled racetrack.
•Senior activities include arts and crafts, field trips, softball and more.
Renee Allemand Simpson serves as public information officer for St. Charles Parish. She may be reached at (985) 783-5183 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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