CPPJ puts park vote on ballot

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Some parks in Lake Charles could get an upgrade, but not without a property tax increase. It's now up to voters to make the decision.

The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury put a tax vote on the May 3rd ballot. If approved by Ward Three voters, the parish would take over four parks in the city and add amenities.

"Of course with the growth that's going to take place there's really going to be a strong need of recreation and so I think after tonight we're able to do that," said Kip Texada, Executive Director of Ward Three Recreation.

Ward Three Recreation plans to maintain Martin Luther King, Huber, Second Avenue, and University Park.

The recreation ward would deal with day to day operations as well as building and renovating new facilities on the parks.

"We're talking about doing some complete overall changes as well as making the place more attractive and a place people want to hang out at," said President of Ward Three Recreation Board, Mark Young.

If passed, the ward will receive a bond not exceeding $16 million dollars with a property tax of 5.50 mills lasting ten years.

Texada said three million dollars will go towards day to day maintenance, while the remaining $13 million will go towards renovations and additions.

"Hopefully they listen and come out and support this tax and I think we can really make a change and a huge difference in recreation," said Texada.

Some of the plans include lighting for fields, astro turf on more fields, adding gyms, and pool renovations.

But Texada said the ultimate goal is to keep people happy and healthy.

"Improving quality of life, that's the investment I think everyone can make and should make," said Texada.

Ward Three Recreation already maintains three parks, including Power Center. Ward officials said they encourage voters to visit the parks to get an idea of what's in store for the four additional parks.

Ward 3 Recreation will not own the parks, but just maintain them.

If passed, the property tax will only effect Ward Three residents.

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