Improvements continue at Cassidy Park

Published 10:17 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Within a year after his inauguration in December 2010, Bogalusa Mayor Charles Mizell unveiled a master plan, developed with public input, for Cassidy Park. He said the transformation would take place in phases, as grants and other funding allowed.

Shortly thereafter, the fence that defined the old animal compound was taken down, the resident donkeys were moved to another home, and the space was again opened to park visitors.

Notably last year, in time for the first Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival, a performance pavilion was constructed, and one of the old restroom facilities was transformed into a green room for performers, as a base.

More recently, a new bicycle path through the park was completed as part of work funded by a Recreational Trails Grant obtained through the Louisiana Office of State Parks.

The city has already begun receiving grants to make the master plan a reality, and it doesn’t intend to stop any time soon, said Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture Landon Tims.

A project soon to be under way will further the grand transformation by adding a splash park, playground, restrooms/storage building, walkways, a beach area and picnic shelters.

Funded by a $400,000 Land and Water Conservation Grant, also through the Louisiana Office of State Parks, it includes $200,000 in outside funding, and the city will contribute cash and in-kind services to match.

Work on that project is expected to be started in about a month, but it won’t be the last of the changes.

This week, the city submitted a grant application for another phase of the master plan. That project, if funded, will include multi-purpose sport courts, a fishing pavilion, fishing pier and site improvements.

While the physical development of the master plan is an ongoing inspiration, the recreation-related funding push reaches beyond Cassidy Park.

On May 1, the city will submit another application for a walkway that connects Cassidy to Goodyear Park with mileage markers and other signage along the way.

The Cassidy Park plan is designed to provide amenities for local folks that will also lure visitors from throughout the region, and the overall improvements are more than just physical.

Already, the city has made the most of the new pavilion by establishing a family movie night, which has attracted hundreds, in the space.

An upcoming gospel music event and a special theatrical performance are expected to attract many more.

Activity at the park continues to increase, and that’s the idea, Tims said.

“We are very proud of our progress in the park,” he said. “We are two years ahead on our master plan, and if we can continue to receive grant money we will continue to make improvements for our community.”