Mayor answers questions about park _lowres

Rendering provided by City of Donaldsonville -- Plans for the renovation of Donaldsonville's Crescent Park include updating the park's greenspace, adding a brick walkway that will bear the city's logo and erecting both a new iron fence around the front of the park and a new pavilion. The project is part of the city's master plan to renovate its frontage along the Mississippi River.

Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr. on Tuesday responded to questions raised by some residents about upgrades to Crescent Park and the removal of trees along the park perimeter.

Councilman Emile Spano posed the questions, which he said were asked of him by constituents concerned about work at the park along Veterans Memorial Boulevard, across from the Mississippi River levee, in the heart of the city’s Historic District.

Plans for the project began nearly two years ago, Sullivan said, when state Sen. Troy Brown obtained more than $700,000 to help fund improvements to the city’s riverfront.

“Crescent Park was a big part of the master plan to improve that area,” the mayor said.

That master plan also includes a possible riverboat dock, amphitheater and bridge to connect the riverfront to the center of the city.

Some residents questioned the need for the park upgrade, which the mayor compared to a renovation for a classic house.

The park project includes redesigning green space, benches and iron fencing, adding brick pavers and the city’s logo and replacing the former pavilion with a newer design.

As a requirement for the funding, Sullivan said, the city and SJB Group — the architectural firm hired to design the project — held two town hall meetings to gather input from residents regarding the riverfront upgrades. Just over a year ago, he added, the city broke ground on the project.

Some residents also questioned the city’s removal of oak trees along the park’s perimeter. Sullivan said the trees removed were water oaks, which were dying.

“Water oaks have a shorter lifespan than the live oaks,” he said. “No live oaks were removed.”

Placards and other historic markers will remain at the park, the mayor said.

The project, which began earlier this year, is set to last 190 days, Sullivan said, with a goal of being complete in time for the city’s annual July 3 fireworks celebration held along the riverfront.