Moncus Park Playground Groundbreaking
LAFAYETTE, La (press release) – On Friday, March 19, 2021, Moncus Park celebrated the groundbreaking on the play elements in Phase 2 of the new park’s construction, and also announced two major gifts that made it possible. Ochsner Lafayette General and Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center have sponsored separate play features within Moncus Park that will be enjoyed by families for decades to come.
Ochsner Lafayette General donated $2.3M toward the park’s inclusive playground and “promenade,” the park’s main walking and jogging trail. Our Lady of Lourdes pledged $1.5M to sponsor the interactive water feature within the play area. An anonymous donor has also sponsored a treehouse designed and built by Pete Nelson and the crew from the TV show, “Treehouse Masters.” All three play areas will be fully accessible, meaning that they can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of age or ability. All three areas also share a theme of celebrating the magic of the Louisiana swamps.
The Ochsner Lafayette General inclusive playground features nature-inspired structures and interactive pieces, all surrounded by a custom rubber groundcover that mimics features of a swampy landscape. The playground includes separate areas for younger and older children, as well as a swing set. Inclusivity and accessibility make this creative and dynamic playground able to be enjoyed by everyone in the family.
“When we merged to become part of Ochsner Health, we knew it would grant us more opportunities to provide even more support within the communities we serve. We are honored to be a part of Moncus Park. Its natural beauty and rich history create an optimal landscape for improving the health and well-being of the people of Acadiana. The decision to support Moncus Park was an easy one; it aligns with our commitment to the region and our vision to make Louisiana a healthier state by 2030,” said Ochsner Lafayette General CEO Patrick Gandy.
Much of the playground equipment will be provided by Landscape Structures, Inc., a leader in fully-accessible play equipment. Many other donors within the community have also supported the inclusive playground, in- cluding the Patrick Gray Memorial Fund, Our Savior’s Church, the George Crain Memorial Fund, and Lafayette Family Eye Care.
The Our Lady of Lourdes 5,100 square foot interactive water feature is centered around a large alligator sculp- ture staring back at a pirogue play structure. The alligator has “breathing” water arches for its abdomen, and children in the pirogue are so frightened by the alligator stalking them that the boat is shaking, creating “waves” made with custom jets, even though this feature has no standing water. Throughout the large wet deck, anoth- er set of custom jets shoot up water that mimic bald cypress “knees.” The interactive water feature has been designed by Fluidity Design Consultants, a global leader in water feature design out of Los Angeles that was founded by Jim Garland, a UL Lafayette architecture graduate.
“The Moncus Park master plan was designed listening to the wants and needs of this community. You asked for an interactive water feature and we’re thrilled to bring forward this incredible play area, specially designed for kids in Southwest Louisiana. We could not be more excited to share this outdoor gift with the families of Acadi- ana,” said Kathy Healy-Collier, President of Our Lady of Lourdes.
The park’s second phase of construction is beginning in March 2021, and is set to be completed before the end of this year. This phase also includes a restroom facility, an amphitheater sponsored by IBERIABANK, a division of First Horizon, and a Veterans Memorial sponsored by the Stuller Family Foundation, the Pinhook Foundation, the James Parkerson Roy Family Fund, the Schilling Family Foundation & Schilling Distributing Company, along with many other donors who have sponsored brick pavers and seat wall inscriptions.
Since breaking ground in 2018, Moncus Park has completed a new 4-acre lake, a great lawn, over two miles of new trails, a dog park, hundreds of tree plantings, as well as much of the infrastructure and utilities for future developments. All elements within the park are part of a community-inspired, Council-approved master plan and have been entirely funded with private donations.
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