JEFFERSON PARISH, La. (WGNO) – Jefferson Parish will not be moving forward with their plan to revamp their playgrounds… for now.
The parks and recreation’s “Recreation Reimagined” plan included doing away with seasonal sports leagues at six of the parish’s playgrounds and implement specialized programs.
During Wednesday’s parish council meeting. Councilman Dominick Impastato cancelled an ordinance that would create a task force that would guide parks and rec in their “Recreation Reimagined” plan.
While discussing a tense community meeting at Avondale playground earlier this week, Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng called it a humbling process.
Sheng says her response is that parks and rec needs help increasing their programming.
“If you’re that offended that we might change something at your playground and introduce something, and we were never doing anything, these were just concepts that we were introducing, but even that, you know, angered people, then what are you going to do about it? How are you going to help us? We can’t field a team of football here,” Sheng said.
According to the parish president, low participation at six of the parish’s playgrounds is the reason why changes need to be made.
Councilman Byron Lee says funding at those playgrounds may be one of the causes.
“We have people who come to the parks and playgrounds every day, who are actual encounters who are not included in our funding mechanism,” explained Le..
Community meetings at the playgrounds will continue, but Councilman Dominick Impastato believes the process needs to go beyond that.
“And if we don’t have that interest, if we haven’t done the due diligence to determine that’s how it’s going to be used, we could very well be wasting taxpayer resources and certainly time and agitation and the bullets you say you’ve taken I would hate for them to be in vain.
Sheng assured council members nothing concrete would be decided until the parish hears more from the people using the playgrounds.
“The ground level work is where the magic is going to happen,” Sheng said. “I absolutely give you 100% assurance that we’re not going to take away without community input.”
The next community meeting is Tuesday, October 18 at Rosethorn Playground in Lafitte at 6 p.m.