New boat launch, East Bank Bridge Park upgrades highlight parks update

Upgrades taking place at the West Bank Bridge Park include turf fields, new dugouts, shaded park areas and interior and exterior fencing.

It’s been a busy calendar year for St. Charles Parish’s Department of Parks and Recreation, and it will only get busier as the department aims to complete major park upgrades and start on a long-awaited Des Allemands boat launch this year.

The Department of Parks and Recreation, which consists of 356 acres at 56 sites that include parks, boat launches, multi-use paths and the Edward A. Dufresne Community Center, completed eight major projects last year.

Those include the Veterans Memorial Plaza, fencing and oaks at Monsanto Park, installation of irrigation at Ashton Park and updates to IMTT Park that included pavilions, sidewalks, bathrooms and batting cages.

A new fence was installed at Lagattuta Park in Mimosa, a storage facility was added to Badalamenti in Luling and the restroom at Boutte Park was renovated.  Des Allemands Park received an overhaul, which added a new basketball court.

Work will continue this year on three major projects started in 2023, including improvements to the West Bank Bridge Park, construction of the West Bank Spray Park and the Rathborne Park restroom facility.

When the first phase of the West Bank Bridge Park upgrades are completed, the park will include two turf fields, new dugouts, a setup for four pickleball and two tennis courts and new LED lighting along with shaded areas and interior and exterior fencing.

The West Bank Spray Park will mirror the splash pad currently in use in Destrehan.

Work on the West Bank Spray Park is nearing 75 percent completion.

“(The West Bank Spray Park) comes with 85 additional parking spots at our community center,” Duane Foret, longtime director of the parish’s Parks and Recreation Department, said.

The spray park will also include two outdoor pavilions and an outdoor restroom connected by sidewalks.

“So those that want to visit our veterans memorial after hours or on the weekend will have somewhere to use the restroom,” Foret added.

Foret’s update also included news of the long-sought Des Allemands boat launch.

“Our Des Allemands boat launch, which in a month or two we’ll start on the roadway and hopefully see a boat towards the end of 2025 being launched,” Foret said.

He said the launch was a long-awaited project that the parish has been working on throughout Foret’s 16-year tenure.

“We’ve got the site finalized and we’re starting to see some traction,” he said.

The sprawling 110-acre area is located in Des Allemands, south of US Highway 90, between Bayou Des Allemands and WPA Road. Access to the boat launch will be provided by a road leading from WPA Road near Allemands Elementary and Des Allemands Playground.

Another major project slated for this year includes improvements to the East Bank Bridge Park, which will duplicate the renovations currently taking place at the West Bank Bridge Park.

“That comes with two turf fields, exterior fencing, interior fencing, new tennis court, two pickle ball courts,” Foret said.

Bethune Park in Norco will also be revitalized by adding four multipurpose fields which will better serve all age groups in the parish’s recreation programs.