Iota: Community Park
“YES, Town Park!” After the initial visioning session in Iota, this message could be seen on yard signs in front of homes all over town. This isn’t the first time Iota has considered building a town park, but with overwhelming support from local residents and no central location for adults and children alike to enjoy the outdoors, the Town of Iota is ready to take action. Located near the Veterans Pavilion is a well maintained, municipal-owned plot of land that is centrally-located and ideal for this type of project.
To encourage local and parish-wide residents of all ages to use the park frequently, the following amenities should be included:
- Walking trail
- Splash Pad
- Flexible sports field
- Outdoor exercise equipment
- Sitting Area
- Concession stand and outdoor games
Design Idea 1
- Large central playground to be non-traditional playground equipment (not post and platform), giving a sculptural aesthetic when not in use.
- Sports field set off main road to prevent interaction with vehicles.
- Trails with dedicated exercise stations
- Pick-up and drop-off area for children and persons with disabilities.
- Overall Concept plays off of the sinuous streams and wetlands of the region.
- U10 soccer field size (115’x180’)
Design Idea 2
- Iota has a Mardi Gras Festival which attracts thousands of tourists. The large sports fields acts as a gathering space for residents and tourists to celebrate the carnival.
- The design plays off of the traditional French Baroque garden’s geometric forms and patterns.
- Central gathering/sitting area allows parents to watch over children playing in areas.
- Sprayground located near road for less expensive waterline extension.
- U10 soccer field size (115’x180’)
Walking Trail with Exercise Stations
The Town of Iota is in desperate need of sidewalks for adults and children to use when getting around town on foot. Community residents expressed the desire to have a designated space for people to exercise outdoors and for parents to take their children, even those ages five and under. The town park should include a paved walking trail around the perimeter of the park with detoured paths for ease of access to other amenities. The walking trail should be paved so people can run, walk, and even push strollers. Additionally, the town should add small exercise stations around the park with instructions for people who want to mix up their fitness routines.
Outside of school, most children in Iota do not have a designated place to play unless their parents drive them to nearby communities. The community park should feature two playgrounds: one for young children between the ages 2-5 and one for older children between the ages 5-12. Age appropriate design of playground equipment and layout is essential for safety, but also better serves the needs of young individuals, taking into account each age group’s physical, intellectual, and social skills development.
Since the closest water park is more than an hour away, the Town of Iota should install a splash pad to provide local residents with a unique recreational activity that can be enjoyed for the majority of the year, but especially during the hot summer months when kids are out of school. Splash pads are becoming increasingly popular in urban areas across the country and are a fraction of the cost of public pools which are, unsurprisingly, very difficult to maintain. The splash pad is also likely to attract visitors from nearby communities who want to experience this big-city amenity in comfort of a small town.
Multi-Purpose Sports Field
To accommodate athletes of all kinds, the community park should include a multi-purpose sports field: a facility with dimensions and markings to accommodate a variety of sports. This is a cost-effective way for Iota to offer more sports-related events to local and parish-wide residents and offers consumers flexibility not otherwise realized on a single-use sports field (i.e. soccer field vs. baseball field). The Town of Iota should design a field conducive for soccer (110 x 70 yards) and football (120 x 54 yards), allowing for a space that can be altered to serve other sports such as kickball and disc golf.
For the park to serve people of all ages and allow for year-round utilization, it is important for the town to include a covered area with benches, chairs, and even some small tables. This will provide a space for parents to watch their children play, elderly people to read or play board games, and young adults to pass the time with their friends. The covered area should be much smaller than the nearby Veterans Pavilion and have a seating capacity of 20-25 with the ability to add seats if demand increases over time.
Concession Stand and Outdoor Games
To ensure the park is well utilized, the Town of Iota should provide a modern concession stand area, additional seating (i.e. long tables), and outdoor games for people of all ages to enjoy. The concession stand does not need to be a permanent fixture but can be featured during weekends (Thursday-Sunday) and special events throughout the year. Food and drinks, including ice cream and popsicles during the hot summer months, should be sold from the Snack Shak and other local businesses to help support small business owners in Iota. Additionally, if the town is willing to allow rentals of the concession area, this can be another form of revenue generated throughout the year to support the operational costs of the park.
- Bocce ball
|Playground (5 and under)||30,000.00|
|Playground (6 and older)||45,000.00|
|Modern Concession Stand/Games||20,000.00|
|Year 1 Operational Budget||32,450.00|
The full Iota Community Park Financial Outlook is available in Appendix E.
|Capital Campaign Sources|
|1 pledge of $20,000||20,000.00|
|6 pledges of $5,000||30,000.00|
|10 pledges of $1,000||10,000.00|
|100 pledges of $100||10,000.00|
|Town of Iota||5,000.00|
|Acadia Parish Police Jury||5,000.00|
|State of Louisiana (grants)||90,000.00|
- Designate plot as future park
- Develop land buildout
- Secure in-kind contributions
- Establish capital campaign committee
- Launch capital campaign
Designate plot of land as future park
Mayor and City Council
Luke Dupre and the Iota subcommittee should work with local elected officials to designate the identified plot of land, already owned by the city, the future home of Iota park via resolution or preferred process.
Develop land buildout
Civil engineer and landscape architect
Work with a local engineer and architect to determine land buildout needs and exact costs for a park using the elements described in this plan. Make adjustments as necessary based on needs and exact costs.
Secure in-kind contributions
Luke Dupre and Iota subcommittee
Determine what local and regional residents will be able to contribute (e.g., benches, sports field equipment, etc.) to the project and update capital costs budget.
Establish Capital Campaign Committee (CCC) and develop fundraising strategy
McClure – Phase II or Luke Dupre and Iota subcommittee (in collaboration with other communities’ CCCs)
Identify community leaders/project champions to assist with fundraising efforts, create funding roadmap, and launch silent capital campaign.
Launch public capital campaign to support land buildout and initial operations of Iota Park
McClure – Phase II or Luke Dupre and CCC
Update funding roadmap, determine viable resources, and secure necessary capital