Red River commissioners still reflecting on dog park dustup
Park's approval benefited from 'very aggressive' lobbying effort
Some Red River Waterway Commission members and staff remained puzzled Friday over an issue they assumed was without controversy.
At-large members Doug Brown of Bossier City and Andrew Hodges III of Shreveport told KTBS they assumed Mayor Cedric Glover was on board with the dog park project funding request of $280,000 that was approved this week. Not only was there a unanimous resolution from the Shreveport City Council in support of the dog park location at Charles and Marie Hamel Park, but local delegations that met with the waterway panel included members of Caddo Parish government, the City Council and the community.
However, a third Waterway Commission member, Caddo’s representative Rogers M. Prestridge of Shreveport, told KTBS that he had been skeptical of the dog park funding. In fact, he initially opposed the allocation in a committee meeting arguing that a number of the projects in the Glover administration’s list – "comfort stations," for instance -- had more merit.
Glover has expressed concern that the dog park leap-frogged his administration’s $2 million list of riverfront additions without consulting him or his staff (See list below). Among his worries: the dog park allocation could count against his riverfront requests. In a time of declining federal assistance, Prestridge said he shares that opinion, though Commissioners Brown and Hodges, as well as Executive Director Ken Guidry, discount that concern. They say each project is considered on its own merits.
As for the commission’s decisionmaking process, Glover might have fared better with a more concerted lobbying effort.
“The dog park people were very aggressive,’’ said Prestridge. Meanwhile, Glover’s list must wait until September for review, along with project requests from communities such as Bossier City. Among the Bossier requests are trails and clearing underbrush along the riverfront. The local projects were among items that were deferred from February until June to determine what federal matching dollars would be available through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Federal assistance becomes more and more doubtful.
The Waterway Commission brings in $7.8 million annually from ad valorem taxes in seven parishes. About 65 percent is dedicated to construction projects and 35 percent to operation and maintenance of the waterway, said Guidry. About $1 million a year goes to recreation projects such as an eventual $3 million-plus RV park project that was also approved this week for Natchitoches Parish.
MAYOR CEDRIC GLOVER'S RIVERFRONT REQUEST
City of Shreveport
RED RIVER RECREATION PROJECTS – BUDGET COST ESTIMATES
November 15, 2011
Rest Rooms / Changing Rooms $250,000
RiverView Park is a big success, drawing residents and visitors to our river front. Many families with small children play in the fountains and nearby facilities are ill-suited to provide rest rooms and changing areas. This project would provide for the design and construction of 650 square foot rest rooms with changing areas for day-to-day use in RiverView Park.
Special Event Rest Rooms / Changing Rooms $500,000
RiverView Park hosts many special events, and is also used as a venue during festivals and other large programs. This project would provide for the design and construction of 1,400 square foot event dressing/rest room facility and would also provide restroom facilities with changing areas for the day to day use of RiverView Park.
Stage Pavilion/Shade Structure $175,000
The stage at RiverView Park provides an excellent venue for outdoor concerts and shows, but performers suffer from the oppressive heat and vagaries of the weather. This project would design and construct a hard-roofed pavilion or a fabric shade structure over 2,500 square feet of the stage area at RiverView Park that could be used for performer protection, public picnicking, and similar activities.
Stoner Woods (Boat Launch)
Group Picnic/Event Pavilion $45,000
Design and construct a 600 square foot pavilion in the Stoner Woods, just south of the existing boat launch parking area. This could be used for group picnics, mountain bike events, and boating events.
River Overlook Picnic and Fishing Area $200,000
Design and construct a picnic and bank fishing area along the river bank south of the Stoner Avenue Boat Launch. This would include a river overlook group picnic shelter (approximately 1,300 square feet) on the riverbank approximately 300’ south of the boat launch, a paved path from the parking area to the shelter, with two 150 square foot picnic shelters and a bank fishing area along the way. Limited clearing would also be required.
Stoner Woods Trail Improvements To be determined
The trails in Stoner Woods are unimproved and primarily used by mountain bikers, runners, and particularly intrepid birders. The terrain in the Woods consists of irregular parallel bars and swales that can impede normal pedestrian traffic. This project would design and construct a trail route with markers and several small bridges that would link high points on the bars that will provide a relatively easy path for walkers and will enhance the current uses of the area.
Information Kiosks $90,000
Design and construct information kiosks that provide high-quality permanent maps with overall Parkway recreation information and have professionally executed interpretive panels to explain the unique historical, natural, and cultural aspects of special sites. Space can also be provided on the kiosk for visitors to post their own messages for upcoming events.
Near Stoner Woods
Hamel Memorial Park
Marie and Charles Hamel Memorial Park
Picnic Area $100,000
Design and construct three family (150 sq. ft.) picnic shelters and one group picnic shelter (600 sq. ft.) at Hamel Memorial Park
Additional Parking $75,000
Construct additional parking for 12 cars at the south end of the park.
Design and construct a playground for children 2-12 years old.
Rest Rooms/Drinking Fountain $320,000
Design and construct a rest room facility in Hamel Memorial Park. There are significant costs for utility extensions to this area.
Earthen Fort Path and Interpretive Information $130,000
Design and construct a paved path and interpretive facilities on the earthen fortification at Hamel Memorial Park. (Note: This project would be an enhancement or alternative to the development of a dog park at this location.)
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