Iowa begins major park project

Published 10:55 am Saturday, September 24, 2022

The Iowa Park Improvement Project is underway. This project was originally envisioned three years ago; however, due to a series of unforeseen events, the project was delayed.

“Due to COVID, two major hurricanes, a record rainfall event and a record freeze, recovery prevented us from doing anything until this point where we’re now able to begin our park improvement,” said Iowa Mayor Paul Hesse.

The Park Improvement Project includs 3 phases. The first step of Phase 1 is to refurbish a field in the Lawrence Toups Jr. Memorial Park into “a state of the art ball field designed for maximum safety and play ability for inclusion of special needs children,” he said. “As far as I know, this is only the second field in Southwest Louisiana designated for this.”

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In the new park, there will be wheelchair accessible stands, dugouts, and pins. Julia Bourgeois, co-founder of Families for Inclusion, explained that this could include turf, concreted or retrograded ground and wider dugouts and pins for children with disabilities.

Lights and a sound system will also be included in the new ballpark.

The park’s centerfield will also be “revamped,” according to Hesse. The centerfield will get new lights and stands. In addition, the building behind home plate will be demolished to create room for additional stands.

Phase 1 of this project will also include new playground equipment to ensure inclusion for special needs children, as well as five new workout machines that will be placed throughout the Memorial Park walking trail.

Hesse stated that these improvements will be completed within the next six months.

Phase 2 of the Park Improvement Project will break ground in approximately two months. He stated that this phase will “include construction of two Pony League sized fields with a central building for announcers, concessions and bathrooms.”

It is anticipated that this phase will be completed within 12 months. Time frames will be confirmed once the final bids are accepted.

The third phase will “cover two fields to complete the quad,” said Hesse. He stated that other amenities will be included, but final decisions have yet to be made.

In addition to the improvement being made to the Lawrenwce Toups Jr. Memorial Park, the construction of the Serenity Garden Park is underway. “It’s not going to be a playground, but instead a garden full of flowers and seating for citizens to enjoy coffee or lunch,” said Hesse. The Serenity Garden park will also be wheelchair accessible.

The Park Improvement Project is not the only development happening in Iowa.

Hesse, alongside other Iowa officials, also cut the ribbon for the “new and pristine” Iowa Public Works facility. The original facility was leveled two years ago after Laura, according to Hesse. “All of this was wiped out originally in the hurricane,” he said. “There was a little bit of roof, but really nothing else.”

“This is getting back to where we needed to be for our little town of 3000.”

The new facility features an up-to-date roof that can withstand wind speeds of up to 150 mph, an upgraded natural gas water tower generator, tractor and street sweeper.

Jeff Kudla, Principal Architect of Kudla Architecture, stated that he was “happy to help put this facility back in business.”

The reconstruction of the Public Works facility is only a portion of the infrastructural updates occurring in Iowa. A preventative maintenance program to reduce unplanned repairs and boil advisories has been implemented, as well as more efficient culvert and ditch cleaning practices.

For further updates on ongoing and completed projects in Iowa, visit