Skate Park relocating in Gonzales; Recreation Master Plan in the offing?

According to President Kenny Matassa the parish-owned and operated skate park scheduled for demolition a few months ago, will be disassembled and relocated from Irma Blvd to property owned by the School Board in the heart of Gonzales.  Ascension’s Recreation Director said the park would be up and running in one to three years as part of the “Capital Improvements/Maintenance Plan he produced and reported to the Parish Council’s Recreation Committee on Thursday.

The indeterminate cost to disassemble, relocate, and reassemble is indeterminate.  Director BJ Romano’s report included a plethora of ideas.  Heading the list is the gym expansion at Lamar Dixon Expo Center, approved two months back and the only one with a reasonable expectation of happening given Recreation’s budgetary constraints.

“Hopefully, the gym expansion will be completed in three years,” Romano told the committee before daring to dream big.

  • Improved playing surfaces at all fields, maybe going to turf in seven years
  • Summer camps
  • After school activities
  • Upgrades to all Community Centers
  • Lighting at all parish ballparks
  • Walking trails
  • A golf course
  • Lacrosse, etc.

“I see a lot of good ideas on here,” began Councilman Aaron Lawler’s obligatory stroking of the Matassa administration’s ego.  “We have no idea how much some of this stuff costs,” he moved to issue an RFQ to engage a firm to “assess the actual status (of Ascension Recreation, and) one year, three year, and five year plans.”

Councilman Oliver Joseph asked Romano if he favored adoption of the work-in-progress as an official Recreation Plan for the parish.  Then pointed out…

“We did hire somebody.  That study is no more than four years old,” Joseph would add that four separate studies have been performed and shelved over the years.

Lawler claimed to have been unaware, withdrawing his motion.  Strange, since Lawler’s appearance on the political scene coincided with Better Recreation NOW!, the 5-Mill property tax assessment rejected by voters in 2014.

“The majority of the citizens did not want a new tax for recreation; and that’s a sad thing,” opined lame-duck District 6 Councilman Randy Clouatre.