Cove Recreation Area plans call for one-of-a-kind Orange park facility

Published 12:20 am Friday, June 16, 2023

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A vacant lot that once housed an elementary school will soon be home to a park unlike others that provides recreation and rest while educating visitors on the history of the area.

Calvin Knauf, director of planning and community development for the City of Orange, said the Cove Recreation Area is planned for at the intersection of DuPont Drive and West Campus Street that was once home to Cove Elementary School.

The city purchased the property in 2019 with the intention of converting it into a community space, which is now coming to fruition.

“That area doesn’t have these kind of play area facilities,” Knauf said. “We really wanted to improve the quality of life in that part of town for residents and people from all over.”

Plans for the property include a playscape for children as well as an enclosed children’s village that will be designed like a small city, allowing children the opportunity to play as employees, consumers, etc.

But while enjoying the multitude of playground equipment, children will also have the opportunity to learn about the history of Orange and surrounding areas.

A kiosk on the property will feature information about the surrounding industries, as well as information on bayous and the importance of wildlife, flora and fauna, and keeping bayous healthy.

There will be a walking trail, a small pavilion for families to enjoy picnics, and a water fountain with a dog bowl at the bottom.

Knauf said Dow Chemical and Chevron Phillips have donated to the cause. Dow provided benches in the shape of butterflies, which have already been received and are in storage; while Chevron is providing Orange trees.

“I think people will really see a lot of progress this fall when the playscape goes in and the butterfly benches (are placed),” Knauf said.

The playscape cost approximately $77,000, while the enclosed children’s area has been approved for $65,000. Both will be paid for with Community Block Grant funding.

“It’s a great project,” Knauf said. “City Council has been very supportive in supplying funds. We really appreciate others helping towards it; we appreciate all of their contributions.”

Knauf said they are also currently visiting the idea of implementing a community garden where people can adopt spaces to plant vegetables.

— Written by Monique Batson