A public forum was held before Monday night’s City Council meeting, Jan. 8, to inform residents on the Natchitoches Sports and Recreation Park project.
The City is currently having 68 of the 100 acres it purchased logged to clear room for the new park. Construction bids will go out in March, construction should start in the summer of 2018, and Mayor Lee Posey said he hopes to have the park open for the summer of 2019.
The entrance will be located in University Parkway across from the Fountain of Life Church, near the Northwestern Hills Golf Course.
“We saw an opportunity to develop something unique,” said Architect Kendall Perkins. “The site is different from many other sports parks in the state because it offers significant elevation changes (60’ from the high side on University Parkway to the back end of the NSU Golf Course) and over 30 acres of mature wooded forest land, which will be left untouched so the public can experience nature.”
The project is estimated to cost the City $10 million and the City will bond out $12 million (land acquisition and construction costs), which it will pay back over 12-15 years.
As for a name, the City is running with the idea: Parc Natchitoches. Public input on a name for the park is welcome, but any input needs to be directed to the City before Jan. 22, which is when the final name needs to be submitted to the design team.
Posey’s vision for this park is to improve the quality of life for everyone in Natchitoches, including residents and students at Northwestern State University. The project is also an effort to make Natchitoches a more attractive place for prospective residents, businesses an students. It will also be used to generate economic activity in the area.
“Everyone age 5-95 will be able to find something to enjoy at this new facility,” said Perkins.
The overall design was conceived of a series of zones.
Zone 1: Public and Nature Zone. This zone is what people will encounter when they first enter the park. The focus will be a large public green space. There will be two ponds stocked with fish, and docks to fish off of. There will also be hiking and biking trails.
Zone 2: Baseball 5-Plex, referred to as the “baseball pinwheel.” This zone features 315’ outfields with natural grass and article turf infields, which will allow games to be held during rain. Multiple markings on each field allow them to be used for a variety of age levels from dixie youth to high school. A baseball pavilion anchors the fields together with restrooms, a concession stand and a shaded area for spectators. Covered bleachers and green spaces for lawn chairs are located at each of the fields.
Zone 3: Soccer. Four regulation size soccer fields are located at the eastern end of the park with a smaller pavilion with restrooms and a concession stand.
There will also be six batting cages under one roof. The City hopes to use this facility to offer camps to youth for hitting and pitching. The parking lot will offer ~700 spaces and its drainage will feed into the ponds, which in turn will be used to irrigate the fields.
NSU owns 75 acres adjacent to the park’s location that the college and the City are working to join into a park that would span over 200 acres. The City is negotiating with residents that own land in between the two properties so they can be connected with trails, some 6’ wide concrete, which will join with nature trails.
Not only will the park be able to host up to 60 teams for tournaments, but it will be used by NSU for intramural sports and as a recruiting tool.
Agenda items for the City Council meeting included:
Proclamation declaring Jan. 15 as Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the City
Proclamation declaring the month of January, 2018 as Arbor Month in the City
Award bid for the 2017 Street Rehabilitation Program to Regional Construction LLC of Natchitoches in the amount of $1.3 million
Declare moveable property (16 self contained breathing apparatuses) to be surplus and coney property to the Natchitoches Parish Fire Protection District No. 9
Execute change order in the amount of $24,690 to the contract between the City and Regional Construction LLC for the Rue Beauport Riverfront-Drive Renovations. Regional Construction was awarded the bid to overlay the drive and the change order is to have all the curbs on the riverbank redone as well.
Ordinance providing for the incurring of debt and issuance of $12.5 million of sales tax bonds, series 2018, of the City
Execute a certificate of substantial completion to the contract between the City and Crocker Construction for the water distribution system improvements, Cane River crossing at Pine Street Bridge