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7 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION
NOTE: This story has been reposted while the series is being judged for a national award
1. St. Charles Parish is home to 52 parks. Parks and Rec staff have their hands full with maintaining the 52 parks throughout the parish. Residents can enjoy parks with a range of amenities that include playgrounds, fields, camping grounds, walking tracks, remote control car tracks, fitness stations, water spray pads, inclusive equipment and more. Search the master of list of parks here to find the one that’s just right for you. SPOILER: you can search by amenity!
2. The Department has its own tax millage. While the department does receive occasional support from the parish’s general fund, the bulk of their funding comes from a ten-year, 3.02 property tax millage that supports their services.
3. They offer something to do for everyone. Gone are the days when recreation departments only offered fun stuff for the kids. In St. Charles Parish, the department offers a range of sports and programming targeted all ages and abilities: youth, adults, seniors and special needs. Grab your friends and join an adult softball league. If you’re a senior, then grab your friends and join the bowling league but if you’re feeling lucky you might want to make your way on one of those monthly casino trips…
4. They offer two youth camps. It’s not every day that kids can attend a good old-fashioned summer camp but they have you covered in St. Charles: their largest camp is also inclusive and it takes place over six weeks each summer at four locations in the parish. If your child doesn’t mind getting dirty or is just generally interested in biology, then you may want to sign them up for the parish’s Swamp School in the Wetland Watchers Park. I’ll sum it up for you in a few key words from first-hand experience: outdoor classrooms, bugs, reptiles, microscopes, archery, canoes, teamwork, friends and fun.
5. The Department opened its first inclusive park in 2014. There aren’t many around but St. Charles Parish, with the help of several community organizations, companies and the leadership of one resident and her son, built the parish’s first inclusive park – a park that children of all abilities and special needs can enjoy. It’s a brightly colored maze of fun located under the trees at the East Bank Bridge Park.
6. The EAD Community Center defines multi-purpose. When the Edward A. Dufresne Community Center came online in 2013 it meant a few things for the Recreation Department and the public: permanent housing for recreation staff, a shelter if needed during emergencies, the first parish-owned gym, meeting space and rental availability. The best part is that the 30,000 square-foot building was 71% grant-funded! To see whats coming up at the community center or to see if the gym is available for free play check their calendar.
7. There is a spray park for those hot summer days. Let’s admit it; every kid loves a water park. So when the parish renovated the Ormond Community Park in 2014, a spray park was added just for them. With 3,800 square feet of motion activated water padding, it’s the perfect place to rent for your kid’s party or just to beat the summer heat.