Central residents weigh in on park

Advocate staff photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON Charles Welsh fills out a survey about the potential location and features he would like to see at the new Central community park while as residents look at maps of  potential locations during a BREC meeting Thursday.
Advocate staff photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON Charles Welsh fills out a survey about the potential location and features he would like to see at the new Central community park while as residents look at maps of potential locations during a BREC meeting Thursday.

BY AMY WOLD

Advocate staff writer

Central residents got an opportunity Thursday to weigh in on where a community park should be developed in the city and what that park should include.

During a BREC public meeting, residents were asked whether they would like a community park developed at Jackson Park, Lovett Road Park, Central Community Sports Park or Jacob Kornmeyer Park.

With about 25 people voting, the most preferred site Thursday night was to turn Jackson Park into the new community park for Central.

A final decision will be made later.

A community park for Central was a part of the plan for the 2004 Imagine Your Parks program.

At Thursday’s meeting, residents brought up suggestions for a dog park, partnering with area schools for walking trails, and using directional lighting to reduce light pollution.

“There are a lot of different things that can go into a community park,” said Dan Hebert, assistant director of planning and engineering with East Baton Rouge Parish Recreation and Park Commission.

He said newer parks are much more sensitive to reducing light pollution and that would continue, where possible, at the community park in Central. What will go into the park will depend on what residents want and what can be built on the selected location.

Possibilities include fishing areas, hiking trails, playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis courts and more, he said.

One thing that will go into whatever community park location is selected is a splash pad, which is fairly compact, so it can be worked into just about any location, said Ted Jack, assistant superintendent for planning, operations and resources at BREC.

Each potential community park location has pros and cons, Hebert said. For example, the Central Sports Park has good access, a concession stand that is already under construction and a wooded area for walking paths.

“It’s really a beautiful site,” Hebert said.

However, the site is already crowded with features, and parking would be limited during sports tournaments, he said.