Lack of participation forces weekday closure of new splash park

Councilwoman says park should be open more for young children who aren’t in school

A splash park in Ormond that opened in June to much fanfare has now closed from Monday through Friday due to lack of participation.

The splash park will only be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. It will close for the season on Sept. 29.

The 3,800-square-foot splash park highlights a $1.2 million renovation of the Ormond park in Destrehan. Along with the splash park, which is free to use, the field has been completely redesigned with two baseball/softball fields, a football field, batting cages, upgraded playground equipment, new pavilions and a walking path.

Councilwoman Wendy Benedetto, who represents the Ormond area, said she continues to get a lot of positive feedback about the splash park from the community. In fact, she has asked the parish to keep the splash park open two days during the week in addition to Saturdays and Sundays.

“We still have parents of younger kids who are not in school and would love to use the park during the week without the bigger kids around,” she said. “I don’t think it’s fair to cut it off completely for those parents and grandparents who still have young children at home. We can have a limited time when it is open during the week.”

When the parish announced the weekday closure on Facebook, many parents shared those same concerns.

“Now mothers can bring their little ones to play (during the week) and the bigger kids won’t trample them,” Michael Hebert said. “It should remain open at least from 11-2 a couple days a week.”

However, Duane Foret, director of the parish’s Parks and Recreation Department, said participation has dwindled since school started.

“We did remain open two weeks after the start of school to gauge the participation. Once we saw it was very low, we decided to close during the week and remain open on the weekends to accommodate our park patrons,” Foret said.

Judge Robert Chaisson facilitated construction of the splash park using community funds set aside after a series of petrochemical accidents in St. Charles Parish during the 1990s. Foret said there are plans to build a similar splash park on the West Bank of the parish.


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