What started as a routine government buildings report over the planned site for a St. Charles Parish memorial and community park again drew opposition from area military veterans.
Darrin Duhe, executive director of procurement and government buildings, addressed the Parish Council about the proposed project, which included showing a video giving an aerial view of the features at Monday’s council meeting. Duhe said the public could also buy pavers in memory of loved ones.
The report did not require a vote, but Councilman Paul Hogan got council approval to allow for public comment.
Lester Breaux, commander of American Legion Post 131, again told the council they opposed the proposed park location, which is the front lawn of the St. Charles Parish Courthouse in Hahnville. Breaux said the location, which faces River Road, is too noisy and busy, suggesting Linear Park, also in Luling, might be a better site.
“Let’s put our heads together and get this right,” Breaux said. “This is for everybody.”
Breaux, as did Bobby Lovergne, commander of VFW Post 3750 in Luling, thanked the council for the park design, but asked for another location.
Lovergne said they met with Duhe last week and saw the project video for the first time.
Appealing to the council, he added, “You’ve got one chance to get it right.”
At the council’s Oct. 21 meeting, the project became controversial when area veterans got approval to table it, arguing they had little to no input in a park intended to honor veterans. The council was to consider awarding a $777,469 construction contract to LA Contracting Enterprise of Thibodaux, but instead held it in favor of naming a committee to include veterans to review it.
Veterans got council support to table the park project to allow them input, which might push its completion into next year and a new administration with the election of Matt Jewell as parish president.
The project originated under former Parish President V.J. St. Pierre’s administration. Plans called for a nearly $5 million veterans’ memorial park and community park to be done in phases with a memorial, amphitheater, skate park and splash park. That project called for the park to be surrounded by a walking trail at Edward A. Dufresne Community Center.