Public gives input on Center Circle Park redesign

Published 2:08 pm Saturday, July 16, 2022

About 50 residents took Sulphur Parks and Recreation up on its invitation to help influence the design of Center Circle Park, off Maplewood Drive.

All three concepts presented by The Duplantis Design Group at the July 12 charette prominently featured a swimming pool.

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to come to a resolve, and we’re going to get to a point where we know exactly what the end product is tonight, but we’re going to document and we’re going to try to understand what the concerns are, what the dreams are, what do we want to see in your ideal park for your community,” said Chad Danos, Duplantis.

Danos said participants were free to express what they may or may not like about each plan and a final plan could reflect those comments.

One resident expressed a desire for something simpler that might cost less to build, stay affordable for residents to use, and thereby take less time to complete. A couple said they hoped for a new community center, which was also a voting precinct.

Some expressed concern about the safety of some of the aspects of the designs. Water features proposed did not appear to be fenced in. They wondered if lifeguards would be needed to supervise some of the water features, because lifeguard recruiting was an ongoing challenge for SPAR.

One mother reiterated her request for truly handicap accessible playground equipment. Danos said the playground equipment would be accessible, even for children in wheelchairs.

Residents Tom Baldassari and Danny DiPetta said they live in the Center Circle Park area and they were hoping for a much scaled down version of the SPAR Recreation & Aquatic Center at 933 W. Parish Road, particularly an area with free weights and a treadmill.

“We’d rather burn calories than gas,” Baldaassari said.

The meeting did not include any discussion of the cost.

Participants completed a Center Circle Design Values Survey, rating what best captured their vision of a community park, imaginative and themed playgrounds or a tropical lazy river waterway, for example. Were open green spaces for play and activities important to them? Was it the depot-style community center for community gatherings that caught their eye?

Participants were invited to rate from one to six the water play activities in which they were most interested, a splash pad with slides and a shallow pool, a large community pool, a lazy river, a splash pad with no standing water, a shallow pool or a lap pool with a zero/beach entry area.