Iberville Parish Council recently approved an ordinance to transfer a parcel of land in St. Gabriel on Williams St. called the Williams Street Park to the City of St. Gabriel.
Williams Street Park is one of two pieces of land given to the parish from the School Board in 1979. The other is the area by East Iberville High School where East Iberville Library is located.
The park which now serves as a social gathering place for the youth of that area of St. Gabriel houses a building used as a voting precinct and will remain that way otherwise it will revert back to the parish.
“No doubt I think the Parish President recognized that throughout the communities within the city we’ve done our own parks,” Johnson said. “And just as a process of natural happening that they’ve asked whether or not we would have interest in acquiring the Williams Street Park so we would maintain all of the parks within the city limits of St. Gabriel.”
The parish recently renovated the park before approval of the transfer which includes: remodeling the voting precinct building which took on flood damage in the August flood, adding a new basketball court, asphalting the parking lot, fencing the property and installing covered drainage.
According to Johnson, most of the renovations took place post-flood 2016 and the precinct building was the only part of the park that took damage during the flood.
To St. Gabriel Mayor Lionel Johnson, the transfer is a natural fit.
“We’ve been able to have a working relationship with the parish,” Johnson said. “We know and they know the bridge and the ferry sometimes are a burden so we have been able to forge a relationship to where…we will take care of it (the park). It’s not a problem. This is a natural part of what we do.”
The City also owns and maintains the Bayou Paul and Carville Parks, both established under previous administration, and the Sunshine Park, established under Johnson’s leadership.
The final step for Mayor Johnson and the City of St. Gabriel is to work with Iberville Park and Recreation District (IPRD) to determine what monthly or annual supplement the city would be entitled to for the operation and upkeep of the park.
Johnson said acquiring the new park will not have an impact on the city budget. “It wont be a burden on the city,” he said. “We maintain our three parks and to maintain another park, it fits right in naturally.
“Beautification is something I’m big on and I know it’s something the Parish President is big on. This is a win-win for everybody.”