Millennium Park rebuild efforts move forward

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It was burned down nearly two months ago by arson, but Tuesday night the public got a chance to see the new plans to rebuild Millennium Park.

"I think we did a lot of things right the first time. So we don't necessarily have to start from scratch. We want to see where to go from here," said Kay Barnett, Millennium Park Coordinator.

Just like they did 10 years ago, the public came out to voice their opinion on how they want their new park to look. Much of the discussion centered around safety. The design of the new park will be more open so parents can better monitor their children.

A master plan outlined an updated version of all the favorites features that were in the original park. Integrating the history of Southwest Louisiana: the park will feature a pirate ship, an airplane, bayou castle and tree house, as well as tunnels, climbing activities, and interactive games. The design will include a special more durable recycled plastic wood blend and a rubberized surface much like what was used for the Adventure Cove Park.

"It incorporates some of the new techniques that have been developed since the original park was built and puts that into a park that is also accessible for children with special needs and really have a comprehensive playground for the children of our community," explained Mayor Randy Roach.

It's a park parents will also enjoy. For them there's shaded seating and picnic areas. Something else they like - there's only one entrance into the park, which will be gated and include cameras and night time lighting.

"I think the extra security measures would help prevent this from happening again. If we have the lighting, people would see if anyone was in there at night because it would be lit up," said Jana Jones.

Children were also encouraged to come to the meeting so organizers could pick their brains about what they liked most.

Lee: What did you think about the climbing walls? - "I liked it. I voted for that one second," said Landon Aaron, 7-years-old.

When it comes to slides, castles, monkey bars and a whole lot more - these experts rated which three they preferred.

"They had this barn castle, which was really cool. And this kind of alligator thing you can balance on," said Kennedy Guidry, 9-years-old.

Lee: What did you think about all the castles? - "I like it. It's cool and it's big and that's what I want," said Arianna Lewis, 9-years-old.

"I like the stuff they want to do. It looks really cool. And I'm really looking forward to playing with my brother in the playhouse area," said Holly Jones, 9-years-old.

Hopefully they won't have to wait too long to play on the playground as organizers expect to break ground on the project late summer or early August.

Meanwhile how much is the new park going to cost? The old park was fully insured and had a $100,000 deductible. The new park with upgrades is expected to cost in the neighborhood of $600,000 to $650,000. Organizers say they'll likely have to raise some $400,000.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to the cause you can call the Mayor's Action Line at 491-1201.

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