Designing Crescent Park

An image of the SJB Group, LLC’s plans of Crescent Park shown at the meeting last Monday.

When you’re working on something that’s going to impact a lot of people, it’s best to hear what they want. That’s what Eric Poché and the SJB Group, LLC did. And they got what they were looking for – feedback.

The SJB Group, LLC is contracted to complete Phase II of the River Front Development project at Crescent Park and held a public meeting last Monday at the Donaldsonville City Hall to discuss what would like to be seen in the project.

“We want you to envision how the park should be used, how it’s been used in the past,” said Gary Dunn, of GD Architecture LLC who will be working with SJB Group.

After Poché, Senior Planner and Landscape Architect for SJB Group, LLC, told those who attended the community meeting the plan SJB Group came up with, they quickly responded with changes they would like to see implemented. The main issue the community had with the design SJB Group drew up was the Farmer’s Market being located at the front on Mississippi Street.

Many felt it would be best utilized in the back along the arc of the park. One of the big problems brought up was seeing the dumpsters behind the Donaldsonville Post Office at the back of the park, and the Farmer’s Market could help hide some of that.

“If I were to get married there I would be looking at dumpsters and mail boxes,” Missy Jandura said. “If you switched it, you would hide it.”

There are also plans to have a bigger pavilion at the park than the one currently standing, one that can host bands and other entertainment groups. SJB Group designed the pavilion to be a 30-foot by 40-foot sized area, but Poché said anything could change if desired.

Lori Payne asked if plans to include some cultural elements like art in the project. She said with the market in the curve you’d solve the problem of hiding the dumpsters and it would be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.

“It’s a very good idea,” Poche said about Payne’s comment, “and I think that obviously we should try to incorporate as many different elements as we can, historical and cultural to get the most use from the largest group.”

Andy Hursey, Landscape Architect for SJB Group, LLC, said originally Crescent Park was meant to be a welcoming point for folks getting off of the river and part of that was the Farmer’s Market, “which actually situated at the rear of the park.”

“But, in going over this preliminarily,” Hursey said, “it made more sense to us to push that on river road so that you have a main street sort of feel. The idea is for folks to come in and set up for vendors or a real Farmer’s Market.”

The way the Farmer’s Market was designed marks it as a 15-foot depth and 100-foot width area.

Mayor Leroy Sullivan questioned the lighting of the park and also suggested to place the city’s logo in the center to have it crested into the pavement.

Poché said they want to be able to have allowances for the park to be lit at night and even a spotlight if somebody is performing in the pavilion.

The project will also include redoing the fall surface in the children’s playground area across the street, doing a rubberized type surface and hopefully have enough funding to complete some improvements in the bathroom and some security features, according to Poché.

The project was made possible by Louisiana Senator Troy Brown. Brown secured the funding from a West Baton Rouge Parish project that had already been completed with other money. He was able to transfer the money and make it available to Donaldsonville.

“We had to try to put things together in a hurry,” Mayor Sullivan said. “But it was because of him that we were able to get the funding to even do this second phase and I’m sure he’ll be working with us on future phases of the project.”

Poché said his team is going to take the information from the meeting and go forward and try to make any revisions and incorporate the ideas heard and then “we’ll start getting into a little bit more specifics.”

“Sometime in the next 30-40 days or so we would like to come back and present to the council and give the public an opportunity to attend and basically get the plan set,” Poché said. “These are the elements that we are going to include and from that point we are going into more detail oriented, design development, design where we start looking at more of types of equipment, materials and start looking at costs.”