Keep blues fest in Cassidy

Published 7:06 am Saturday, May 7, 2016

Bogalusa residents are right to be concerned with the state of Cassidy Park. The park was a beautiful green space that offered amenities unlike any other space in the city, and the March flood damage is shocking in its severity.

However, we urge residents to be patient as the city grapples with how to repair that damage. There will be delays. We might lose some of the greenery. But city leaders are waiting for possible federal funding before they commit to a plan of repair, and that’s smart even if the delay is frustrating.

The fact is, federal money tends to come with strings attached so if the city does qualify for federal help, that help will likely come with stipulations. It makes sense to wait and see whether we get the money and how we might spend it, rather than rushing with our own money and expecting to be reimbursed later.

All that said, the city must begin its own assessment and estimate the cost of repairs on its own. The city must have a “Plan B” in place, in case federal funding falls through or falls short of reconstruction.

Planning to hold the Blues and Heritage Festival at Cassidy Park is a smart move for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a great location, but by setting a concrete deadline, it gives the city a timetable for completing at least rudimentary repairs to the park.

Late September isn’t far off, but with a good plan set now, the city should be able to prepare the grounds, repair the electricity and ensure the general safety of festival-goers.

Make no mistake: The park will have to be repaired one way or another, sooner or later. By planning to hold the festival in the park, it obligates the city to act sooner rather than later. And that should be music to everyone’s ears.