The Highland Road Community Park is the latest Baton Rouge park to unveil new features, including an air-conditioned gym and a splash pad, to fight the extreme summer heat.
The parish’s recreation and parks commission planned a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday evening for the splash pad, refurbished recreation center and new youth tennis courts and playground. The changes took more than a year and cost about $2.4 million.
With its new features, the Highland Road Community Park offers more camps this summer and will offer more adult leisure classes and athletics programs this fall. Among them are pickleball and futsal, an indoor soccer game with smaller teams.
BREC is now well on its way to adding water features to all of its larger community parks sprinkled throughout the parish.
Howell, Anna T. Jordan, City-Brooks, Forest, Greenwood, Jackson and Highland Road community parks now all have pools or splash pads. Independence Community Park has BREC’s crown jewel water feature, Liberty Lagoon Water Park.
Zachary Community Park has broken ground on a splash pad that should be ready by next summer, while North Sherwood Forest Community Park soon will enter the design phase for a splash pad.
That leaves only two community parks without concrete plans for a water feature — Sandy Creek Community Park, where the land has not been developed yet, and Perkins Road Community Park, where BREC leaders are debating whether they have room to add one.
The lack of air conditioning in older BREC recreation centers and gyms parishwide also has been an expensive problem for the agency. In addition to cooling the Highland Community Park Recreation Center, the renovations included a refinished gym floor and new basketball goals.
BREC also replaced dated playground equipment and created a larger playground for the park.
While parkgoers have been enjoying the splash pad, recreation center and playground as they have opened during the past few weeks, the new tennis courts made their debut Friday. Members of the tennis community raised more than $20,000 in private donations to build the tennis courts for children 10 and younger.