LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Lake Charles City Council heard a tale of two parks Wednesday night. While Millennium Park was destroyed by arson in January, the city is committed to rebuilding it bigger and better. Plans for an expanded children's park, now referred to as Millennium Park II, will be the centerpiece of the proposed Bord du Lac Park.
"The idea here is to create a playground for children that is really second to none at least in Southwest Louisiana," said Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach.
Mayor Roach presented the City Council with the overall plan for Millennium Park II at Wednesday's agenda meeting.
After a series of recent meetings with the public, the city has come up with a design which includes a two-story tree house, a pirate ship, a rock climbing wall, and tons of swings and slides. The entire Millennium Park II project will sit on a rubberized surface, similar to the product used at Adventure Cover.
"The entire park is designed to be wheelchair friendly," said Mayor Roach. "This overall configuration of the park is in the process of being refined and developed by Leathers & Associates - the design firm that helped create the original Millennium Park."
The park will have one entrance and be surrounded by two gates - one that surrounds the entire park and another that surrounds the new Millennium Park play area. Also parents are getting something they wanted.
"There will be a walking path that surrounds the park. You can take your children to Millennium Park and while they play you can walk and get some exercise," said Mayor Roach.
Bord du Lac Park improvements include an amphitheater, shaded picnic areas, a spray park, new lighting, security cameras, restrooms, covered pavilion, landscaping and other playground equipment.
"Seems like you all have been doing some work in thinking through the project and bringing it to some good features to it. And I think it is going to be a nice attraction," said City Council President Rodney Geyen.
An attraction that does come with a price tag:
Overall project cost: $1,900,000 to $2,500,000
Millennium Park II - Estimated Cost: $650,000
Bord du Lac Park/Amphitheater Improvements: $1,200,000 to $1,850,000
"The way we propose to pay for Millennium Park II is to take the insurance money that we get -- apply that to the $650,000. Go out into the community and raise what we can from the community. If we need more money we'll seek authorization from the City Council to use other capital funds to make up the shortfall," said Roach. "When it comes to the Amphitheater/Bord du Lac Park project we will ask the council to allow us to use the bond monies allocated to pay for those improvements."
Kay Barnett, Project Coordinator for Millennium Park II, said they'll likely be launching the fundraising effort for Millennium Park II within the next couple of weeks.
"We hope that businesses and families will want to get involved again and be able to help sponsor different parts of the park," said Barnett.
The proposed timeline to begin construction on Millennium Park II is set for late summer/early August.
Meanwhile if you would like to volunteer or donate to the cause you can call the Mayor's Action line at 491-1201.