Veterans Memorial Park

Project: Veteran’s Memorial Park for Ascension Parish

The Ascension Veterans Memorial Park is a unique concept in passive park design. GSA, Inc has designed and constructed a contemplative green space in the center of the City of Gonzales from ideas originally conceived by a coalition of Ascension Parish veterans. The park is owned by the Parish of Ascension and is under the direction of its Recreation Department, which oversees its maintenance and operation. Within this 1.5 acre site, visitors can remember, honor and celebrate the contributions of our American veterans from every branch of service - men and women who dutifully answered the call to serve their country during war and peace, in defense of freedom worldwide.

A majestic bronze sculpted eagle at its entrance plaza greets visitors to the park. An amphitheater is located in the rear of the park, which can be used for park and community events. The Freedom Fountain, which symbolizes the ultimate sacrifice made for liberty by our American veterans in every conflict since our nation's birth, sits in the park's interior. Eight informational kiosks are placed around the landscaped walkways that serve to familiarize visitors with US involvement in times of conflict. A future phase includes plans to link the kiosks technologically to the Ascension Parish library, which is adjacent to the park site, thus making the park an advanced educational resource.

The Ascension Veterans Memorial Park was dedicated on Memorial Day 1999. Future phases of the park include many additions and amenities, such as additional landscaping, decorative walls and paving, inspiring art panels and meditative lighting and benches for reflection and relaxation.

The park was initially funded with federal assistance from a VA-HUD Economic Development appropriation. Since that time, additional funding has been secured on both the local and state levels, through grants with the Governor's Office of Rural Development, the Ascension Parish Tourist Commission and private donations.

Gonzales Jambalaya Park

Project: Jambalaya Park for the City of Gonzalas

Award: 2005 Louisiana Municipal Association Project of the Year

The abandonment of the 40-year old extended aeration wastewater treatment plant in the City of Gonzales created a unique opportunity for cost savings to the City, while taking economic advantage of past wastewater treatment facility capital expenditures. Since financing for the construction of the new wastewater treatment plant was via Louisiana's State Clean Water Revolving Fund Loan Program, the demolition of the old plant was also fundable under that same program. GSA developed a program whereby SRF funding could be used to finance partial demolition of the wastewater plant facilities, which saved the City the cost of full demolition. The partially demolished facilities are being used as the base infrastructure for a park that is under construction at the old wastewater treatment facility site.

Unique uses of the old treatment structures included the conversion of primary and secondary clarifiers into floating gardens, fountains and fish ponds; conversion of the rapid sand filter into an outdoor amphitheater; partial demolition of the anaerobic digester tank wall to create a free-form children's spray tunnel; relocation of the chlorine cylinder storage building to create the entrance gate for the park; and reuse of salvaged ductile iron pipe as an aesthetic embellishment for support columns of an arbor/seating area in the center of the floating garden/pond area.

To provide the most cost effective strategy for this project, it was developed into three phases. This allowed optimum use of available funding as well as logical progression for the proposed construction.

Phase I

This phase includes a concrete path and decorative paving along Bayou Francois, 60' x 6' wide timber pedestrian bridge, a new playground and shade arbor.

Phase II

This phase includes an 8-lane swimming pool, wade pool, splash tunnel, fish ponds, spray-jet water display fountain, concrete parking, sidewalks, wood arbor and decking with outdoor lighting, planters, brickwork on existing concrete basins, and drainage system.

Phase III

This phase consists of a pool house adjacent to the new pool and a theater building next to an outdoor terraced seating area. Also included are concrete paving, sidewalks, fencing, display fountain in the bayou, gazebo, park sign, lighting and landscaping.

Phase IV

Sprayground, Parking, and Road Improvements at Jambalaya Park - This phase consists of the construction of water playground and associated mechanical and electrical appurtenances, shade shelter and sitework; parking and road improvements at the Jambalaya Park site.