Alexandria City Council discusses improvements for parks and recreation

Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 10:27 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Alexandria City Council is pushing to improve several parks and recreational facilities around the city to have them ready by the summer.

The Johnny Downs Rejuvenation Project has been a topic of discussion for the council for over a year ever since a tornado damaged the facility back in Dec. of 2019. Johnny Downs is scheduled to host the Dixie League World Series in July, but since the playing fields and facility have not seen any improvements yet, it has caused concern for the Dixie program.

Dr. Keith “Skip” Fox, the President of Dixie Softball in Alexandria, said, “Right now where we are, there’s no turning back. If this project falls through or doesn’t go off in the way we told the national organization, they can actually take away those world series for next year from us.”

The project was delayed several months due to the impacts of hurricanes Laura and Delta, but Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall said he still believes the project will be done by their target deadline. The new members of the city council have made Johnny Downs one of their main focuses and are expected to approve to start construction in the next few weeks. The project is expected to cost $7.5 million to renovate the facility.

“Every bit of that money going to that project needs to get done before July to have the type of complex and field conditions that we need to play in,” Fox said.

As part of the Johnny Downs Rejuvenation Project, the council has voted in the past to get new soccer goals to replace the ones that were damaged by the hurricanes. However, the contractors that the council awarded the bid to have not responded back to the city.

At the council meeting on Jan. 12, the council passed a resolution to re-post the advertisement for contractors to bid on to replace the soccer goals. That project is expected to cost $50,000.

The council also passed another resolution to advertise fencing repairs for the tennis courts on Masonic Dr. to bidders. Those renovations are expected to cost $100,000. District 2 Councilman Gerber Porter voted against both of those improvements.

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