By Jennyne Pinter, special to the Press-Tribune
The Bossier Parish Police Jury will help construct a walking trail and Veterans’ Health and Therapy Garden at Haughton’s Joe Delaney Memorial Park.
Haughton Fire Chief Jimmy Holland requested the jury’s assistance for equipment and labor at their regular meeting April 17.
“As you all remember,” said Holland, representing the Town of Haughton, “in 2015 we came to you when we started working on this. Since then, we’ve made a lot of progress. We’ve put in two large playgrounds, a softball field with a backstop, restrooms, a concession stand, the splash-water pad, the parking lot; also, the large-diameter drainage culvert. And we’ve also got a fence around the whole thing now.”
The town has begun accepting bids for construction of pavilions and protective fencing around the splash pad. That project must be completed prior to beginning work on the walking trail.
The Louisiana Water Conservation Fund Program grant that will fund the pavilion and splash pad project will have around $150,000 remaining after the project is completed, and that money will need to be used up by October 2019. These funds can go to the purchase of materials for a walking path, but the assistance of equipment and labor from the Police Jury would be necessary in order to execute the operation.
Holland said that aside from the walking trail, a Veterans’ health and therapy garden is also on the docket to be constructed. This will be aided in large part by Trailblazers Resource Conservation & Development, who are helping to orchestrate the garden and ensure that it is wheelchair accessible. Gardens such as this aim to aid with recovery from PTSD and various other post-war/post-service traumas.
Home Depot will be donating the materials for the planter boxes, BPSTL and Haughton High School may assist with construction, as well as Woodmen of the World is donating a 30 ft. flagpole and flag.
Police Juryman Bob Brotherton from District 1 thanked Chief Holland and commented on the Joe Delaney Memorial Park.
“Butch, Coach McGovern and I have been working on this park for over the years. It’s a park-in-progress and it’s a great park. With the direction that the Town of Haughton is going, I think it is a great idea,” Brotherton said. “The Veterans Health and Therapy Garden is one of the greatest things that you’re going to see.”
Holland offered an invitation to the jury, noting how they’ve been supported by them and the community to make the park happen.
“If you all haven’t been out there,” Holland offered, “you all really need to come check it out. We’re very, very proud of it. The work that’s gone into it is astronomical. When we came up with this concept, they told us “Well, this is going to cost you all $2 million.’ So far, we’ve done it for $700,000. Everybody came together and made so many donations.”
“On the front pillars, not only does it say Town of Haughton, it says Bossier Parish Police Jury right there next to it. We feel like it’s our park but it’s yours as much as ours. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for the help that you all put in,” he added.