The long journey of Ed Reed Park from an idea to a reality culminates this month, with the St. Rose park’s official soft-opening Thursday.
The park, located at 190 Short Street in St. Rose, will see an official ribbon cutting to commemorate the day’s event, which will not be open to the public. But it represents the availability of a park for area youth that has been the vision of Reed, the Pro Football Hall of Famer and St. Rose native, who has long believed his hometown has needed a playground since the years ago demolition of the park he spent countless days in as he grew up. His neighborhood’s former park was eliminated in order to build housing.
“We are so excited to finally be opening the park,” said Courtney Aburn, Program and Development Director of the Ed Reed Foundation. “We’re proud to provide the families of this area a safe place to play, be a community and be a family.”
The state-of-the-art park features a 100X300 multi-use turf field, two basketball courts, a playground for children and walking path among its amenities, as well as an access road and 16 parking spots for convenience. There is also an open area for picnics, cookouts and other activities.
The park will also have a Founders Walkway, where local organizations, families, groups or individuals can purchase a personalized, engraved brick that will help comprise the walkway and be a lasting part of the park going forward.
It has been a long journey for the park – an initial target opening date was October of 2019. Some initial setbacks were compounded with the fallout from COVID-19 throughout the past year-plus.
The park is near the streets of Turtle Creek and Preston Hollow where Reed spent his childhood. The thought is the park provides access to safe facilities, positive programs and mentors, while serving as a symbol of hope and healthy choices for children, according to the Ed Reed Foundation. It was built on land acquired by the Reed Foundation in the St. Rose area and its construction has been a collaborative effort between the Ed Reed Foundation, fundraising efforts, St. Charles Parish and other organizations.
This has been a feature project of his foundation, which directs its efforts at providing opportunities for positive advancement for at-risk youth.
“It’s really never been more important to have an outdoor, safe environment where you’re going to have fun activities,” Aburn said.
The opening runs concurrent to Reed’s annual camp at Destrehan High School, which is ongoing today and on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.