LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A plan to scale down the proposed Bord du Lac Amphitheater and Park isn't sitting well with the Lake Charles City Council. Some argued deviating from the original plan would be a mistake and offered an alternative to achieve a 1st class facility.
The original budget for Bord du Lac Amphitheater and Park was $8,900,000. This doesn't include $2,500,000 for the Children's Park and rebuilding of Millennium Park II (which will be rebuilt with $650,000 in donations).
It's safe to say almost everyone agrees that the Children's and Millennium Park are top priority. The question now remains what can the City do with $7,000,000 - the nearly $2,000,000 scaled down budget for Bord du Lac Amphitheater and Park.
"I just want to say you get what you pay for," said Rodney Geyen, Lake Charles City Council President.
Mayor Randy Roach said as we move forward they have to recognize monetary restraints.
"I want to make sure we can get what we need out of it and not just spend money to spend money. Nobody wants that. I don't think anybody on this council wants that," said Mayor Roach.
Geyen said he wouldn't support anything less than what the voters of Lake Charles approved with the bond issue.
"I'm saying what they authorized us to do and that's what I want to see done... And I want to see a first class facility out there and that's what I'm standing on," said Geyen.
But some on the council are split on the need for a new park and mega-amphitheater to replace the current outdoor facility.
"I don't see a need to tear down a structure that's already very usable that's not used very much at all to replace with something else," said Councilman Stuart Weatherford.
"It comes down to it needs to be redone to where you can have control over access and egress so people can rent and charge for somebody to come in and perform," said Councilman Mark Eckard. "And I don't want to have to make excuses 10 years down the road for some park or some amphitheater we skimped on."
With more than $600,000 spent on the project thus far, others on the council say abandoning the park is not an option.
"Apart from me thinking it's a great project from the start it's not a clean break to pull away now so I think we need to continue," said John Ieyoub, Council Vice President.
"Look I like the park. I think the park that has been designed - I think the amenities in it are first class. I think that's what the people deserve. I think what we are saying today is we can't afford to build the park today," said Councilman Marshall Simien, Jr.
After discussion, council members voted 5 to 2 (Councilmen Dana Carl Jackson & Stuart Weahterford against) to a revised estimated budget of $8,900,000 with a phased in approach in keeping with the original intent and scope of the project.
Based on Wednesday night's action, the architect for the project - Randy Goodloe - will go back and make the necessary changes with the phased in approach to be presented back before council.