One move can sometimes change the entire landscape of an entity or organization.
Parks and Recreation of Denham Springs (PARDS) was set to purchase the Denham Springs Country Club one day after this edition went to press. It could mean a different direction for the recreation district.
Operation of a golf course/country club involves plenty of nuts and bolts, ranging from the upkeep of the course to operation of the clubhouse and other facilities.
The district acquired the country club at a bargain basement price of $186,954 – far less than the $1.5 million appraisal. The board jumped on the opportunity and now find itself expanding once again.
PARDS, in its 46-year existence, has gone from parks, playgrounds and ballparks to soccer, aquatics, a fitness center and recreation center, among other activities. It represents all aspects of what a city wants in “quality of life” activities to attract new residents.
Now, other areas of the district want a piece of the pie.
Residents who live in the area near South Park – a typically quiet and shady green-space area – want expansion of their facility. Unquestionably, times have changed immensely since the park opened in the 1970s.
Range Avenue has transformed from a little two-lane highway since the Denham Springs stretch of Interstate 12 opened in 1972.
On a given rush hour in the morning or evening, it resembles a small version of College Drive in Baton Rouge, Veterans Boulevard in Metairie or
Ambassador Caffrey Parkway in Lafayette. It stays busy.
Many residents remember the days prior to the interstate in Denham Springs. Others moved to the area much later, but many share a common issue:
They hate traffic.
It means that the short drive from the southern outskirts of the city that once took 10 minutes can take 30 minutes on a particularly congested rush hour.
The trip to North Park, with more amenities, now seems arduous at times.
Times have changed, and residents now want the same for their park. Some want the basics, such as repair of fences and upgrade of restroom facilities.
Others want a dog park, improved walking track, a smoother pavement though the confines of the park and additional playground equipment.
Some want a multipurpose facility where they can host agricultural shows, rodeos and other events.
Residents at M.L. Lockhart Park also want their share, primarily with improved playground equipment for the many children who frolic on those playgrounds day after day.
It makes sense for other parks to form a wish list. They pay the same 15-mill property tax, so they want to want to get the most bang for their buck.
At the midway point on the 10-year life of the current millage, it’s a good time to make improvements if PARDS wants voters to renew the tax.
It’s a time of growth for PARDS, even though it may bring its share of growing pains. What the district does over the next year will say a lot about the chances of millage renewal down the road.