Funds will be used for upgrades at Hillcrest Park

Lake Charles was recently awarded a $225,000 grant that will enhance four acres of existing green space at Hillcrest Park and build stormwater infrastructure, officials said during a news conference Tuesday.

Mayor Nic Hunter said the city was chosen for a 2018 Great Urban Parks Campaign grant by the National Recreation and Park Association. It was one of 10 cities in the country to receive the grant.

The vision, Hunter said, calls for incorporating rain gardens and other methods to filter out stormwater and act as a temporary holding area to keep drainage laterals from filling up too quickly. He said it will improve drainage in surrounding neighborhoods.

“We chose this area specifically because of its proximity to areas that had recently seen some flooding,” Hunter said.

The plan also calls for building walking trails and improving the park’s overall beauty.

The city will work with Dana Brown and Associates, a New Orleans-based landscape architecture firm, on the project. He said the firm was instrumental in improving Tuten and Riverside parks.

Public meetings hosted by Dana Brown and Associates are expected to begin within the next two to three months, with design work taking six to eight months, Hunter said. Construction may start by mid- to late-2019.

District C City Councilman Rodney Geyen said residents who live near Hillcrest Park are excited about the grant. He said students at John F. Kennedy Elementary School can explore the updated green space and learn about the environment.

“This is a win-win situation for us,” Geyen said.

Since the city announced its Partners in Parks program in July, Hunter said it has secured more than $500,000 for improvements. Initial projections were slated at $100,000.

The Great Urban Parks Campaign has been in place since 2015, according to the National Recreation and Park Association website.


Online: cityoflakecharles.com, nrpa.org

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