Around 400 people strolled through City Park at the Grand Reopening event held June 3. The Natchitoches Parish Journal, City of Natchitoches and Northwestern State University, along with several area sponsors, hosted the event, which was free and open to the public.
Mayor Lee Posey, NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio, NPJ Editor Corey Poole, and David Stamey with the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) spoke briefly at an opening ceremony following event kick-off. Clair Loraine, associate pastor at First United Methodist Church opened the ceremony with a prayer.
City officials in attendance were Police Chief Mickey Dove; City Council members Sylvia Morrow, Don Mims and Laurence Batiste; Community Development Director Randy LaCaze; Recreation Director Chris Laurence.
This Grand Reopening showcased the new features the park offers to the public. Improvements include: two pavilions, a walking track, security lighting, new benches, pocket park with amphitheater area, dedicated bus drop off and pick up and large parking lot. The park is fully ADA compliant and handicap accessible. Funding partners were Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. and grant funding from the Land Water Conservation Fund.
From skits performed by NSU Theatre and Dance students to live music by Larry’s Group, the event provided entertainment of all kinds. Kimmy Smith got the crowd moving with Zumba, Natchitoches Kiwanis Club member Craig Caskey provided music and Dazzle Dance Center performed a few routines to delight the crowd.
Trini Triggs kept the atmosphere lively as event Emcee. He also announced the winners of the prize raffle drawings. Youth won bicycles, tickets to area attractions, NSU prize packs and more. Inflatables, a life-size jet engine from the U.S. Air Force and hot dogs grilled by the City Marshal provided food and fun. Volunteers from Lions Club and NSU Athletics as well as City Workers made sure things ran smoothly and that the public had a good time.
Organizations and businesses sponsored activity booths for the kids. From planting sunflower seeds to sweet summertime snacks, there was a craft, game and treat for everyone. NSU’s Housing & Residence Life and Art Department
Event sponsors included Emerson (Alliance), Southern Breeze Productions, Boost Circuit, Sonic, Exchange Bank, City Bank, BOM, MidSouth Bank, the Historic District Business Association (HDBA), U.S. Air Force, Fishers Sports & Signs, United Way and Atmos Energy.