While the improvements the City of Plaquemine has approved for the city’s four parks this year are not complete, Mayor Ed Reeves is pleased with the results so far.

During a tour of the city’s three existing parks – a fourth is in the city’s future – Reeves showed off the progress made so far on the projects.

“We got two parks finished this week,” he said last Friday, referring to projects at Herman Graham Park and Plaquemine North Park.

At the Herman Graham Park, high tech playground equipment has been installed, mulch and a concrete border placed around the giant, colorful structures.

“I’m very pleased with it and all the kids deserve this because some kids just can’t get to City Park,” Reeves said. “It’s a neighborhood park and I want it used more. The basketball court is already used heavily.”

“I feel pretty good about the work that’s been done here,” he continued. Reeves said rehabilitation on the well-used basketball court will begin this week.

One last project at the Herman Graham Park is the renovation and conversion of what had been two small restrooms in a tiny building on the park’s grounds into a unisex bathroom.

“We’re going to be doing a co-ed bathroom to start because the building is not large enough to be handicapped accessible for both side,” Reeves said.                            

“If we need it, we’ll build another bathroom next year,” he continued. “We don’t have any money in the current budge this year but this one can be converted into a single bathroom relatively inexpensively.”

The playground equipment at Plaquemine North Park has also been installed. The price tag on the three pieces of equipment – two are at Herman Graham – was $200,000 to the city.

“These fancy pieces of playground equipment actually cost $400,000 but we purchased them through Game Time Company, which matches our contributions dollar for dollar.

In all, the City of Plaquemine will have spent about $750,000 so far this year on improvements to the three parks. Reeves said he expects the city to close on the purchase of property on Eden Street not far from Belleview Road this week for a fourth park.

“The people are enjoying our parks so I think it’s well worth the investment,” he said. “It’s money well spent.”

In regard to the city’s parks, Reeves said he hoping for “community buy-in,” or cooperation between local residents and organizations for the parks to be as successful as possible. Westside Community Church near the Plaquemine North Park has already offered to partner with the city on programs at the park.

He is also planning on getting residents to help keep the city and its parks litter free as part of that community buy-in.

“This is my plan – I want people to adopt their portion of the block and picking up the litter there,” Reeves said. “When they start doing that, those people will stop others from littering. That’s the only way I can see it.”