As the water rained down onto a motion-controlled blue pad, dozens of children excitedly leapt through the area, becoming the first kids to step foot inside St. Charles Parish’s splash park.
Two of those children were 3-year-old Sydnie and 1-year-old Laynie, who were brought to the park by their mother, Mandy Lorio.
“We are definitely excited this is here. Sydnie has been talking about it all week,” Lorio said.
The 3,800-square-foot splash park highlights a $1.2 million renovation of the Ormond park in Destrehan that officially opened on Tuesday. Along with the splash park, which will be 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.
A centralized pavilion will also cover a concession stand that will include bathrooms and storage areas. A fence will be constructed along the border of the park for safety.
The splash park is the only public facility in the parish that has a water feature. The padding of the park is motion-activated so that water will not be wasted.
Councilwoman Wendy Benedetto, who had budgeted money for the park’s redesign since 2008, said it was one of her main priorities when she ran for office in 2007.
“You can just hear the joy and laughter in their voices,” Benedetto said. “In this park, memories will be made that will be cherished for years to come.”
District 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 90s. Duane Foret, director of the parish’s Parks and Recreation Department, said there are plans to build a similar splash park on the West Bank of the parish.
However, Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said the Destrehan park is for the entire community.
“This renovation brings so many more opportunities for the community,” he said.
Benedetto added that there are still vacant areas in the 5-acre park that can be used to add more facilities in the future.
The splash park, which is located at 1901 Ormond Boulevard, is open daily from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. from Tuesday through Sunday.