Donaldsonville community park officially open

Brandie Richardson @B_lifestyles

A ribbon cutting was held in conjunction with Donaldsonville Community Day on May 15 for the opening of the new community playground in Donaldsonville, located at the Kingdom Park at The Church of Donaldsonville.

The project was created by Healthy Spaces for West Bank Faces (HSWF), one of four leadership teams in the Ascension Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Ascension program. The program is designed to meet the needs of the community and provide educational and professional development opportunities in the Parish.

Elements of the community park were designed by LSU Biological Engineering students who met with Donaldsonville Primary and Lowery Elementary students in December to determine what concepts their ideal playground would have. LSU Engineering students presented their drawings, based off of students input, to the leadership team and community members in February.

"We were warned early on that the building of a playground is expensive and were advised not to take on a project that we would not be able to complete within a year," saidCharla Johnson, Manager of Community and Provider Education at St. Elizabeth Hospital. "We were told the ideal amount to raise would be $50,000 but could still do something with $30,000."

The leadership group not only met their goal, but surpassed it by more than double, raising over $100,000 from more than 40 sponsors and project partners.

The park includes a 1/8 mile walking path around the park, a basketball court, a swing set, slides and a multipurpose play area. Additional elements will be installed within the coming months, featuring playground equipment for toddlers and preschool aged children, trash receptacles and double-sided benches between the basketball court and play area.

"I had a dream of blessing the community," said The Church of Donaldsonville Pastor Fitzpatrick Pitts."This dream came to reality, a dream that we did not fail to keep pursuing or keep chasing after."

One local grandmother, Tangy Gipson, said she is happy to finally have a safe place for her grandchildren to play at.

"I think the park is awesome," Gipson said. "It keeps the kids off of the streets. It's so nice for them to be able to gather right here, safe out of the streets."