$1 million in ballpark lighting, another $165,000 for gym, skate and dog parks approved by Recreation

Ascension’s newly-ratified Director of Planning and Facility Maintenance, Ricky Compton was on hand at Tuesday’s meeting of the Parish Council Recreation Committee to update several projects.  The parish’s three most heavily-used (Butch Gore, Stevens and St. Amant) parks will receive $1 million worth of lighting improvements.  Along with increases to the parish’s gym renovation contract and reassembly of a skatepark, Ascension’s first dog-park was also recommended by the committee.

Donaldsonville councilman Alvin “Coach” Thomas was the lone committeeman to question installation of new metal poles and LED lighting at the triumvirate of west bank ballparks.  His inquisitiveness was more about spreading the money to the west bank than questioning the need for improvements.  Compton explained that a wooden light pole fell at St. Amant Park, compounding an already dangerous condition created by poor visibility.

During the April 11, 2019 Recreation meeting Councilman Aaron Lawler, an ardent supporter of recreation, said:

“We have a huge problem with lighting, especially at our baseball and softball fields.  It’s dangerous.  We, literally, have lights falling down, we have lights out…If you’ve ever played baseball you know it’s hard to see a ball as it is, especially if you get older like me.  But even for a kid it’s very dangerous if you don’t have proper lighting out there.”

At the very same meeting Recreation considered the viability of disassembling and relocating the skate-park targeted for demolition by President Kenny Matassa’s administration.  Originally located on Irma Blvd in Gonzales, the concrete structure was transferred to its current location in pieces.

“Something of an eyesore for (nearby) companies,” opined Councilman Lawler on Tuesday (see above).

Dismembered elements of the skate-park lay next door to Oak Grove Community Center.  Does the council wish to continue with reconstruction?  The committee recommended putting the job out for bid with a budget of $125,000, contingent upon approval by the 11-member full council.

Assuming council approval, the ultimate location for the skate-park is yet to be determined.

The same goes for a proposed, and long-considered dog-park.  Ricky Compton is soliciting sponsorship from Raisin’ Canes restaurants, targeting parish-owned property for construction.

On March 21, 2019 the vote was 8-3 to amend last year’s budget, loaning $3 million ($2,780,000 of it for gym-related expenses at Lamar Dixon Expo Center) to the Recreation Department from the General Fund…

8 Council members put unnecessary gym before children’s safety

Recreation is recommending another budget amendment, $165,000 added to the contract for “competition wood floors” on the playing courts.  The gym was pitched as a multi-use facility last year, i.e. not just basketball.  According to Ricky Compton the architect has quoted an additional $45,000 “to amend the documents…11 sheets of paper” to make necessary changes.  The competition-grade, wood floors will cost an additional $120,000.