COVINGTON, La - When it comes to Mayor Mike Cooper's bucket list for Covington, there are just under 14 acres along the banks of the Bogue Falaya that are priority one.
He is the master of a master plan that's going to bring millions of dollars of improvements to the already popular city park, Bogue Falaya Wayside Park.
There will be a boardwalk, a kayak launch, a fishing pier, more walkways, a stage and entertainment area, improvements to the playground, and ongoing renovation to signature spots already in place, such as the historic pavilion.
A new home for the resident park ranger was built as part of phase one, and phase two is underway.
Mayor Cooper grew up playing in the park and is dedicated to helping prevent more erosion, as well as creating a legacy for future generations. He knows he won't be mayor when the multi-million-dollar project is completed, but he hopes to return to enjoy it every step of the way.
He showed Twist reporter Stephanie Oswald some blue prints of the park from when it was owned by the state in 1940. Even back then, there were plans for some of the same improvements that are incorporated into the current master plan, which was developed in 2016, with the help of public comments.
A $250,000 grant (matched by the City of Covington) was helpful in making the grand plan a reality.
Landscaping lagniappe for the park is a bronze statue of author Walker Percy, unveiled in August. It is the first commissioned work produced by the Covington Public Art Fund, founded by city resident and co-owner of the Southern Hotel, Lisa Condrey-Ward.
The Park is on the National Register of Historic Places.