St. Charles Parish council members voted Monday, September 4 to approve a construction ordinance for a $351,000 new restroom facility and storage room at Rathborne Park in Luling.
The project, awarded to Napoleonville-based commercial contractor Sage Construction LLC after undergoing the parish’s typical bid process, is expected to take approximately 150 days to complete once parish officials issue the Notice to Proceed order to begin work.
“When [Councilwoman Fonseca] was our grant officer we had applied for funding in 2014, so it’s been a nine-year process to get this finally done,” St. Charles Parish Parks and Recreation Director Duane Foret said at this week’s parish council meeting.
A Department of Health technical requirement delayed progress, initially requiring five stalls for each men’s and women’s restrooms, overburdening the project’s cost. The requirement was appealed by St. Charles Parish for an exception and rejected, forcing Parks and Recreation to temporarily shelve the project. Recently when the approval process was amended, Parks and Recreation was given more flexibility on restroom stall requirements and thus cost, allowing the project to finally move forward.
The restroom facility, along with a water source, has been a long-sought amenity requested by local residents since the park was first built. Currently residents wishing to use restroom facilities must rely on a portable toilet; the park at present has no running water and lacks drinking water fountains. The park is frequently used by local recreational sports teams for practice and games.
“The Rathborne Park Restrooms have been long-awaited by our residents. We are thrilled to get this project underway, which will bring the first water source to one of our most popular parks in the parish,” St. Charles Parish Parks and Recreation Director Duane Foret said. “In addition to the bathrooms, the upgrade will provide much-needed storage for the Mimosa Booster Club to use for sports equipment, uniforms and more.”
Rathborne Park presently includes an outdoor basketball court, picnic tables and pavilions, playground equipment and outdoor workout equipment, along with two baseball fields. One of the key features of Rathborne Park is its blacktopped bike and walking track spanning around eight tenths of a mile long, including a paved connection to Beaupre Drive. The bike and walking trail surrounds wooded features in its interior.
Located at 702 Lakewood Drive, the park has quickly become a favorite spot for Lakewood, Mimosa and Willowdale area residents since first opening around 11 years ago. Development of the park has been a continuous work in progress, with Parks and Recreation gradually adding new features to the park every few years.