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Bryan Park goes green

The Downsville project to build an eco-friendly park now has support from Louisiana Tech students.

Four third- and fourth-year architecture students at Tech have been conscripted to help design and possibly build a pavilion and rest room for Bryan Park, a future feature of Downsville that has been in the planning stages for several years.
The students will work on the designs for the project throughout the coming weeks as their spring quarter project. Some will stay through the summer to see the facilities be built and pitch in.
Kevin Singh, Tech professor and director of the Community Design Assistance Center, is helping coordinate the students’ work on the park project.
“It’s a pretty amazing vision for such a small little village,” Singh said. “With the four students there willing and able to do it, the excitement is really in the opportunity to do that.”
The 34 acres of land on La. 151 destined to become Bryan Park was donated to the village by the Bryan family in 2007, and has received grant support to help make the dream a reality. Bill Bryan has worked to develop plans for the park and its interface with the Downsville community.
In 2008, Bryan Park was marked for federal funding with the help of U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-Metairie. The two-part soil and water conservation grant from the Department of the Interior will provide $150,000 for work in phase I of the project and should provide another $300,000 for work in phase II.
Phase I will include the access road to the park, the trails, and the pavilion and bathroom facilities, said Downsville Mayor Reggie Skains. Phase II will offer funds for more structures and trails as well as other park amenities yet to be determined.
Funds are likely too tight to include Bryan’s wish to have solar power at the facilities and an artificial wetland for wastewater treatment located nearby in the first phase of the project.
“We want to go as green as we possibly can,” Bryan said.
Other associated work, such as the trail to connect the park and sports complex, has been tabbed for funds. Skains said the city has $281,000 for that project. The work on the sports complex itself is well into phase II, and has been supported by $239,000 of grant funding.
Skains is also working on more grant capital for sewer and water work around the village from the federal stimulus package.
There is work under way to develop an area that can support eco-friendly residential construction around the park, as well.

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