Improvements, upgrades slated for IPRD facilities

Staff Report

Work is set to begin this fall on upgrades to the Belleview District Park, along with a project at the C.M. “Mike” Zito Multipurpose Center and new construction for the Iberville Parks and Recreation District.

Work is scheduled to begin this fall on upgrades to the Belleview District Park.

The Iberville Parish Council awarded the work on the improvement project at Belleview Park to Jay Reed Constructors of Baton Rouge.

The budget was set at $7.5 million, but JRC got the go-ahead on the project with a bid of $7,494,000, according to Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso.

The work at Belleview District Park – adjacent to the Carl F. Grant Civic Center – is set to begin this fall.

The recreation complex was closed recently to allow for preliminary work before the contractor begins the project.

Ourso said he expects to sign the contract within two weeks and hold a preconstruction meeting before the wheels start turning on the project.

He wants to see the project begin by late September or early October.

The 270-day project will include two synthetic fields and restrooms.

Ourso hopes the upgrades will attract the large regional and state tournaments that have become a fixture in recent years in Ascension, Livingston and West Baton Rouge parishes, as well as the City of Zachary.

“It’s going to be really nice,” he said. “We want to be able to host the big recreation events, in sports, and keep them in Iberville Parish instead of going other places for youth sports.

“This is going to be the nicest park on the Westside once it’s completed,” Ourso said.

About 200 yards away from the park, construction will begin on a new maintenance facility for the IPRD, on property adjacent to the Plaquemine Elks Lodge.

Much of the IPRD work had been done at a parish facility just off La. 1 South on the outskirts of Plaquemine.

Upon completion, the parish plans to have the property appraised, put back into commerce and sold to the highest bidder, Ourso said.

The new maintenance facility will also centralized operations for IPRD.

“Everything is going to be close and in one place with IPRD,” he said.

A few miles from Belleview District Park, work is planned for the blacktopping of the C.M. “Mike” Multipurpose Center on Bayou Road.

The blacktopping will bring a significant improvement to the parking area, most of which is gravel.

The multipurpose center, named in memory of the longtime Parish Councilman who spearheaded the project, has hosted rodeos, livestock shows and 4-H events since its opening in April 2005.

“I want to get the IPRD where it needs to be through the major investments that we’re putting in this parish, and make the people proud,” Ourso said. “I always believed that anything in in Iberville under parish control needs to be as first class can be.”

The projects come on the heels of recent upgrades on the Carl F. Grant Civic Center, which included renovation of the restrooms and other parts of the building, which first opened its doors in early 1978.

“We have a good staff with IPRD,” Ourso said. “Our director (Erik Willis) and his staff are doing a great job.”