Refinery Manager Jerry Forstell presented the check to St. Bernard Parish Government. Accepting the donation were Parish President Guy McInnis, District B Councilman Nathan Gorbaty and District D Councilwoman Wanda Alcon.
“I would like to thank Chalmette Refining for their dedication to St. Bernard Parish and commitment to fund the redevelopment of this park,” said District B Councilman Nathan Gorbaty.
“We are excited to be a part of such a worthy project,” says Jerry Forstell, Chalmette Refining Manager. “Once completed, the park will not only be a place where all children can play together, no matter their physical abilities; but as an added bonus, the equipment and landscaping will be eco-friendly. We hope this becomes a destination park for the community.”
“Over the last two years, our community has seen the completion of numerous projects. This park is a reiteration of one of this administration and council’s top priorities, to ensure a high of quality of life for ALL of the residents of St. Bernard Parish,” said Parish President Guy McInnis
The donation will be used to fund several park redevelopment elements which will expand and improve upon the original park that was heavily damaged from previous hurricanes. Chalmette Refinery’s donation will fund environmentally-friendly park components such as a concrete surfaced parking area and walking path, landscaping, recycled plastic benches, fencing and energy-saving lighting.
In 2017, the Parish received a $300,000 federal Community Development Block Grant administered by the Louisiana Office of Community Development. However, the federal grant was restricted to select improvements and could not fund the full redevelopment plan.
The new Bluebird Park emphasizes special needs facilities and a universal playground design that the entire family can enjoy together. Input for the design was provided through a public open house held in September of 2017 and guidance from the Parish’s Americans with Disabilities Act Advisory Committee, chaired by Carol Perkins.
The final design, developed by RCL Architecture of Mandeville, features sensory learning and play equipment for various skill levels, a roller slide, specialty swings, a wheel-thru arcade, an accessible covered picnic area and handicapped restrooms.
Construction is expected to begin in early fall and will be completed by the end of 2018.