Millennium Park Community Rebuild: Day 10

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - An army of volunteers continued work on Millennium Park. It's day 10 of the community rebuild and work is near complete. So far more than 5,000 volunteers have taken part in the effort.

"It's been such a great experience to see the park come about in less than two weeks. We've been working very hard and this is what community is all about. We couldn't be happier," said Kay Barnett, Millennium Park Rebuild Coordinator.

All of the major play components are nearly finished. The playground features Southwest Louisiana landmarks, including a pirate ship and a huge tree house.

"Many people have come out and signed up for one shift. They end up working two shifts, some three shifts. They come back for two days, three days and so on. It's just been an incredible experience," said Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach.

Retired carpenter Wiley LeBert, 77, helped build the first park and has been on site since day one of the new park.

"I knew they were going to need skilled people and I have the time. I'm glad I can help and it's just nice to see it all come together from nothing to this great park that's almost finished. The kids are going to love it," said LeBert. "When you see it go up and every day you see different changes, the different things going up and then all of sudden 10 days later you see everything is all together. That's what I enjoy."

The park burned down from arson back in January. The community stepped up immediately to make the new park a reality.

"There's a lot of work that went in to just planning the park before the build. I'm so happy to see everybody get behind the effort. I said it was going to be bigger and better and as you can see it's definitely bigger and I think we can all agree better," said Mayor Roach.

Just like it did 11 years ago Millennium Park has brought out the best in the community and proved that working together anything is possible.

"It's been great. Real fun! It's great to see the community come out here and take part in all of the duties. A lot of friendships have been made during this rebuild. I really admire that," said Gregory Thibodeaux, with Turner Industries.

"It's going to be really nice to come back and hang out here and everything. I just can't wait until it reopens," said Nick Bernett, volunteer.

"It will be really rewarding whenever we are older and we can bring our kids our here and be like we helped build this and just the nice finished product," said Ann Mefford, Barbe High School Student Council.

According to organizers some work will continue for the next couple of days. "We will have professionals that we have been working with come in and finish some last minute details. We want to thank everyone for their help and getting us to this point," said Barnett.

Barnett urges the community to stay on top of the project through the City of Lake Charles Facebook page. She said they do need highly skilled roofers and carpenters to continue to volunteer over the next couple of days. Meanwhile the park won't be open to the public for at least another five to six weeks.

"Once all of the construction is complete. We still need to put down the rubberized surface on the concrete. We have already went out for bid on that and should be getting that underway soon. Once it is ready to be open we will of course let everyone know and have a big celebration for the new park," said Barnett.

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