Youngsville multi-purpose park set to open in January

Coming in January to Youngsville: the grand opening of the multimillion-dollar Youngsville Sports Complex, a new park that’ll feature baseball and soccer fields under lights, tennis courts, a playground, pickleball court and concession stands.

Coming in a few years to Broussard, which lies just north of Youngsville: a $20 million sports park that will rival, or compliment, Youngsville’s.

But, the project is still in the planning stages.

“I hope theirs (Broussard’s) is as nice as ours,” Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator said.

Last week, subcontractors for Trahan Construction seeded the Youngsville baseball and soccer fields for games that should kick off in 2014, Viator said.

The complex sits on 70 acres bordered by Chemin Metairie Parkway, Savoy Road and La. 743, near the upscale Sugar Mill Pond housing development.

Viator said the project would not exceed the original price estimate of $16 million, and may drop after Acadiana Bottling agreed to pay for the park’s scoreboards, which could lower the final price tag to $15.2 million.

The Youngsville Sports Complex went from concept to almost open in 21/2 years, Viator said, which included drawing it up, bidding it out, getting the City Council on board, and proposing a 1-cent sales tax to Youngsville voters, who passed it.

Youngsville started collecting the tax in May and officials have calculated yearly proceeds of $1.9 million, an increase over the $1.5 million originally estimated when the tax was passed in 2011.

Viator said the tax collections and park revenues will go toward paying the loan and for park operations.

The second phase of the Youngsville, a $5.5 million to $6 million community center, is set to be bid in October, said Tim Robichaux, the city’s director of recreation. He said the center could be completed by late 2014 or in 2015, and will be financed mostly with state capital outlay dollars.

On Friday morning, construction workers were busy at the Youngsville site.

Employees with JMA Painters, a subcontractor to Trahan Construction, rolled blue paint onto the brick walls at the ball fields.

JMA employee Ryan Gotts pointed to newly built concessions buildings nearby. “We’re going to paint those blue too.”

One hundred feet away, backhoe operator Lane Harveston, an employee of A.R.S. Electrical, dug a trench for electrical wiring that will help power lights, scoreboards and signs.

Harveston said rain has hampered progress.

Viator said the original opening date of Dec. 15 had to be delayed one month because of weather.

In Broussard, the nearly hired director of parks and recreation, Jack Hains, said optimistic forecasts have Broussard opening soccer fields in 2015, with baseball fields and the planned parks many other features being completed after that.

The city has 120 acres that lie off St. Nazaire Road, an extension of Albertson’s Parkway, east of U.S. 190. The park will be built just to the east of where St. Nazaire turns south.

Hains said Broussard City Council members will decide soon whether to approve the project.

After that comes the bidding and construction, which will be done in three phases.

The project will cost an estimated $20 million, Hains said.

He said Broussard has the wherewithal to pay for the complex without having to ask residents to pass a special tax.

He said the recreation center by itself will offer plenty: a recreation center with inside basketball courts, an elevated walking and running track, meeting rooms for the public, and offices for park employees.

Outside, plans include 11 baseball fields and two practice fields, tennis courts, areas where the AARP crowd can play organized sports such as pickleball, and walking and running trails that offer varying degrees of difficulty.

At least one of the baseball fields, Hains said, will feature artificial turf.

Rains, who had been the West Feliciana Parish assistant director of parks and recreation, said he was hired in early September by Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais.

“We’re not trying to get exorbitant,” Hains said. “But this is not just a youth park. It will be an all-ages park.”