Officials say city park erosion issues are minor

Riverside Park

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - There are problems already at a new city park, just over six months after the gates opened. Riverside Park is located in the bend of a river, making it a prime location for erosion.

The side affects are becoming visual, but city officials plan to do whatever it takes to stop it from getting any worse.

Erosion is slowly becoming an issue at Riverfront Park in North Lake Charles. But city officials hope to put a stop to it before it gets any worse.

"We're trying to restore and protect it and protect it for the future," said civil engineer Walt Jessen.

With the park located in a river bend, the water is flowing quickly, with lots of energy. Jessen says the city is taking the necessary steps to address the erosion.

"We're trying to do our studies at this time," said Jessen. "In fact we have scheduled a geo-technical investigation to sample the soil so that we can take whatever steps are necessary to stop this naturally occurring phenomenon."

The park is closed to the public. But city officials assure citizens that the closure is just temporary while the necessary improvements are made.

It's closed now because playground equipment is being added. This is one of several phases in the park's development. City councilman Marshall Simien says the closure is not related to the erosion issues.

"It's multiple phases," said Simien. "Once we finish with this part along the riverfront, we've got this part here along the boat launch that we have to work on. The erosion, just something we knew we'd have some issues come up that nobody anticipated. This is just one of them and we're addressing it."

Recently, the lengthy walkway at the park's entrance went underwater, but Jessen says this is not a concern.

"It's not uncommon to have the Calcasieu River at flood stage," said Jessen. "There will be certain times during the year where the lower portions of this park will be underwater."

The walkway separates the river and a marshland area. The city built the park to withstand high water, because the river supplies water to the marsh. Simien says this entire area is not only it's own ecosystem but also a piece of Lake Charles history.

"This is the historic part of the city where Captain Goos used to float logs," said Simien. "The railroad went through here, the highway went through here. We've had baptisms. It's a very historic part of the city."

For the soil tests, Jessen says they will dig a hole in the soil surface near the entrance of the park.

No time frame is available right now on how long the testing and result process will take.

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