The LSU AgCenter and the Healthy Communities Coalition recently announced the opening of two parkettes in Solitude and Independence, a news release said.
One cul-de-sac in Turner subdivision in Solitude now houses picnic tables, benches, a shade structure and a slide structure.
And the West Feliciana Community Center in Independence sports a basketball court, benches, picnic tables, shade structure, playground and barbecue grills.
These pocket parks, also known as parkettes or parks on small parcels of land, are the result of a 2017 grant that the LSU AgCenter received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention High Obesity Program. West Feliciana Parish was one of three parishes in Louisiana chosen to receive funding because of its high prevalence of obesity at the time.
The West Feliciana LSU AgCenter office received the grant for two years. Forums and coalition meetings were held in St. Francisville and Solitude. Discussions of the needs of the parish followed.
It was determined by the coalition members that it wanted more opportunity and access for physical activity via parks or green space.
Buy-in from the parish government and council members was strong, the release said. Parish-owned land — a cul-de-sac in Turner subdivision and land adjacent to the West Feliciana Community Center — was offered by the West Feliciana Parish government.
The coalition worked on its vision for both Solitude and Independence and developed a plan. CDC approved the projects for both sites and equipment was ordered. Due to changes in staffing not to mention the grant ending, the equipment remained in boxes until July 2019.