Millennium Park receives major donation

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A coalition of Southwest Louisiana businesses is teaming up in support of rebuilding Millennium Park.  An $80,000 check was presented in a ceremony Monday afternoon.

The gift is at least the second major donation toward the park's rebuilding.  Lake Charles city officials gave an update on the project as well as fundraising efforts.

The total cost to rebuild the "Shiver Me Timbers" Millennium Park facility is estimated to be around $650,000.  Insurance claims are expected to replace the original park elements that were destroyed by fire in January.

Groundbreaking for the facility is expected some time this Summer.

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The following is a news release from the City of Lake Charles:

Four Southwest Louisiana Gaming Resort Businesses Team Up to Make Sizable Donation for Millennium Park Rebuild

Today, four Southwest Louisiana gaming industry businesses, in a first of its kind alliance, teamed up to present an $80,000 check to the City of Lake Charles and the Rebuilding Millennium Park Committee in support of the rebuilding of Millennium Park fundraising effort.  This donation, which represents equal contributions from Coushatta Casino Resort, Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel, Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel, and L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort, is the largest private sector donation to date.

The general managers of the four companies made the donation on behalf of the nearly 6,500 employees the gaming companies collectively employ in Southwest Louisiana. A coalition of employees representing each property joined in to celebrate the donation announcement, all wearing t-shirts bearing the unified message The Rebuilding of Millennium Park.

Said Mayor Roach, "The City and Rebuilding Millennium Park Committee are extremely appreciative of the commitment these four companies have shown toward this project with today's announcement. Building a bigger and better Millennium Park for the children of Southwest Louisiana is truly a community-wide, joint effort.  This combined donation will certainly help us as we work to reach our fundraising goal."

Commented General Managers Conrad Granito of Coushatta, Steve Kuypers of Delta Downs, Paul Hutchens of Isle of Capri and Geno Iafrate of L'Auberge, "We are so pleased to make this substantial donation on behalf of our employees who have so enjoyed Millennium Park with their families. It is the centerpiece of the lakefront and as leading employers in Southwest Louisiana we challenge other large industries to unite in support of the park as well." They add, "We are not just committing funds to Millennium Park but also volunteering manpower to swing hammers, paint and lend the sweat equity needed to get our children playing at the park again soon."

The donation follows last week's contribution by the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitor's Bureau of a $50,000 Tourism Relief Grant.

According to Kay Barnett, Rebuilding Millennium Park chair, "We cannot thank these companies enough.  This large donation demonstrates the dedication of these businesses and their employees to the betterment of Southwest Louisiana and will name and underwrite the cost of the Crying Eagle's Nest Tree House, one of the main play areas in the new design.  As the largest private sector contribution to the project to date, it brings the fundraising effort to more than one-third of the dollars needed to complete the rebuilding of Millennium Park."

The goal is to raise $350,000 from the community with all funds being dedicated to the project.  The City will add funding from the insurance reimbursement, and the remainder will come from the City.

The new Millennium Park is scheduled to be built by community volunteers in late summer or early fall of this year.

All donations are appreciated and can be made online through the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, a non-profit area organization, at; by mailing to: Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, P.O. Box 3125, Lake Charles, La. 70602; or delivered to the Foundation at 120 W. Pujo St., Suite 120, Lake Charles.

For more information, visit the City of Lake Charles website home page at and the Hot Topics link Rebuilding Millennium Park.