Best in state – The Louisiana Parks and Recreation Association has designated the Village of Parks’ Cecile Rousseau Poche Memorial Park “The Best Recreational Park” for 2020.(Karl Jeter)
Parks park cited by state
After three years of constant improvement, the Village of Parks’ Cecile Rousseau Poche Memorial Park has been chosen by the Louisiana State Parks and Recreation Association “Recreational Park of the Year”
The park has always had the advantage of a very scenic location. The tree-shaded acreage along a wide stretch of Bayou Teche features a boat ramp, camper parking, large and small pavilions and baseball and basketball facilities. It is the venue for the annual Cracklin’ Cook-off, which will be held on April 26-27 this year.
Improvements undertaken in recent years, however, have made a good park even better, drawing the attention of state recreation managers and earning the prestigious award.
Mayor Kevin Kately told the Teche News that when he took office in 2016 he asked council members for a list of priorities. Park improvements topped every list.
“The council, village employees and the public all get credit for this,” he says. “Everybody has been on board from the beginning.”
The improvements since that time have been exceptional and there is no question that the public played a big part. The value parish residents place on their recreational facilities was made clear by the passage of a $5 million parish-wide recreation bond issue in December 2016. The proceeds were apportioned to each municipality to use as they saw fit. The village’s share was $350,000.
“We feel a great sense of responsibility to spend those funds wisely,” Kately commented, “That was a one-time thing. We aren’t likely to come up with that kind of money any time soon, so we want to make improvements that will last.”
First came long-needed restrooms at the baseball field, then more near the camping and pavilion area. More pavilions were built, and lights were added at the baseball diamond, which was raised by several inches and regraded to improve drainage.
New basketball goals were installed as well as new playground equipment. The slab for a planned veterans’ memorial has been poured. Concrete camper pads and sewer hook-ups were also added. Later this year the Teche Project is scheduled to install a floating dock, making bayou access easier and adding a new dimension to an award-winning recreational facility.