The Orange Leader
City of Orange seeks to improve the 3.8 acres Navy Park grounds through federal funds.
Proposed improvements for the grounds include a recreational facility, re-purposing the baseball fields to provide 2 soccer fields, rehabilitating a walk track, as well as a possible “squirt park”.
“We have even considered a skateboard park,” City Manager Shawn Oubre said in a phone interview. “The projects are contingent on the costs.”
Oubre said the city has requested a release of the funds and is currently in the pricing stage of the project.
“The funds are designated expenditures for that area,” Oubre said.
The park will also be upgraded to current American Disability Act (ADA) compliance with new play structures replaced and ADA accessible.
The funds for the project total $150,000, with $105,000 from the CDBG and $45,000 from the City of Orange.
“City Council will have final approval on the project,” Oubre said.
Jamie Verdine, a resident who has lived near the park for the last 4 years was surprised to hear about the proposed improvements.
“It will be nice,” Verdine said. “It will give the kids a place to play during the summer.”
Faith Schexnider, 10, agreed and said she was looking forward to the splash park.
The park was once a very active area for the surrounding community according to Lorenzo Sellers.
“They use to do Easter eggs in the park,” Sellers said. “The park would be full of people until 8 - 9 at night on Easter Sunday.”
Sellers also recalls when he would catch the school bus at the corner of Morrell Blvd. and 4th Street.
“That was 35 years ago,” Sellers said.
While Tammy Davis, a resident on Morrell Blvd. is looking forward to seeing improvements to the grounds, she is concerned about parking issues that may arise.
“It will be a wonderful thing for the kids. I love it. There are a lot of kids around here who need a place to play,” Davis said. “But what about parking? Will they do something to provide parking?”
Currently, parking areas are not included in the plans for improvement.
Jason Johnson is less than excited about the improvements.
“It is better to leave the basketball courts and the baseball fields,” Johnson said. “In another community I could see adding a skateboard area or soccer fields, but here, these kids play basketball and football.”
Johnson also utilizes the current softball field.
“I take my little girl there to practice,” Johnson said.
The project is one of two the city is currently seeking funds.
A second project includes the removal of dilapidated structures within Census Tracts 202, 203, Block Groups 2 and 3 in Census Track 207 and Block Groups 1, 2, and 4 in Census Tract 209 within the city.
The funds for the demolition project are $48,591.