IPRD, DDG begin March public meetings

Andrew Green
St. Gabriel residents were asked to “design your ideal park” with a limited budget at the DDG, IPRD public meeting.

St. Gabriel residents gathered at the Community Center Monday March 20 for a presentation from the Duplantis Design Group (DDG), a company hired by the Iberville Parish Council and Parish President, in an effort to improve the Iberville Parks and Recreation System.

In March 2016, the Council hired DDG to evaluate the Iberville Parks and Recreation System and look at all public parks in the parish to make recommendations on how to improve the park system and move it forward for the next generation.

DDG representative Chad Danos addressed St. Gabriel residents at the March 20 meeting in an effort to gauge their park needs.  “Parks are one of those things that leave a legacy behind for future generations,” Danos said.  “You create fond memories in parks that stay in the community.”

DDG conducted on-site investigations of each park in the parish from April 2016-July 2016.  The flood of August 2016 halted their progress until January 2017.

DDG and IPRD then organized various Town Hall meetings during the month of March to reach out to each municipality in Iberville Parish.

DDG conducted meetings in Maringouin on March 13, Grosse Tete on March 15 and will hold meetings in Rosedale on March 22 at Rosedale Town Hall, the White Castle Community Center on March 27 and Plaquemine City Hall on March 29.

After the public meetings are held, Danos and DDG will then provide guidance to each municipality from April - June 2017 on how to improve their various IPRD facilities.

According to Danos, Iberville Parish has a population of about 33,000 residents and that the parish has about 3.1 acres of parish recreational park land per 1,000 people.  According to the 2016 City Facts by Trust for Public Land, the U.S. median is 13.1 acres per 1,000 people.

IPRD consists of 105 acres, Danos added, which includes 25 parish parks, 9 city parks, 12 parish boat launches and 14 schools.

DDG then administered surveys to attendees and asked them to design their “ideal park” with a specific budget.  Danos and his crew will collect this information to determine the best form of action St. Gabriel should take.  According to IPRD Executive Director Mike Markins, this is a good move by the parish.

“Overall, this provides us a look into the future of Iberville Parish parks,” Markins said.  “It takes a lot of money to maintain our parks and doing this will give us a sight into the future.

“The Parish Council and President were gracious enough to hire this firm to come to every municipality and see exactly what they wanted and we’re going to give them what they want.”

Markins added that a lot of the facilities were built 28-30 years ago and the parish needs to see what is broken and adjust with the times and growing population.

“We are getting more and more people involved in our programs,” Markins said.  “We have to build the community centers to serve the people of Iberville Parish.  We are here to serve the people.”

Danos encouraged residents to fill out an online survey at so the DDG and IPRD can better gauge the needs of the parish.

“We need as many people voicing their opinions as possible,” Danos said  “Your voice is important to us.”