Abbeville Parks, Rec Department holding meeting Thursday for public comments

Members of the Abbeville City Council and Parks and Recreation Board gathered Tuesday to discuss Thursday’s community meeting. Pictured (L-R) are Board Member Rob Roy, Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Francis Plaisance, Board Member Anita Levy, Parks and Rec Director Jerry Smith, Councilman Brady Broussard Jr., Councilman Wayne Landry, Board Member Joe Cormier and Councilman Louis Joe Hardy. Also on the five-person board but not pictured are Jim Quackenbos and Ricky Frederick.

Those interested in the future of the Abbeville Parks and Recreation Department are invited to offer an opinion on its direction.
Abbeville Parks and Rec Director Jerry Smith announced there will be a community meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. to discuss with the public where the department currently is and where it is heading. The meeting will take place in the Rec building at A.A. Comeaux Park. Refreshments will be served.
“The focus is really just going to be for people to meet with me and provide their input on what they want to see moving forward,” Smith said. “That is the meeting in a nutshell.”
The Abbeville City Council hired Smith in October. He said, at the time, meetings such as Thursday’s are important to developing a solid parks and rec department.
“I want to explain to people what we are trying to do in the short-term,” Smith said.
Among those short-term plans are maintaining and improving services the department already offers, including football, basketball and baseball. Smith said he would also like to implement other programs not traditionally seen in Abbeville. Clubs for track, golf, fishing, Hip Hop, canoeing, tennis, cycling are possibilities. So are programs like flag football, baseball and basketball for young adults, as well as programs focused for seniors.
“I want to know if there are programs that do not exist that people really want to see,” Smith said. “I think it is critical to find out what people want to see as opposed to what is being provided.
“Services are limited and we want to see what people want to best utilize those services.”
While citizens will have a chance to offer opinions, they will also have the opportunity to get involved.
“We want people to get involved to make these programs happen,” Smith said. “Volunteering is critical to provide the man-power to make it all happen.”
Abbeville Councilman Wayne Landry, District D, is helping Smith put together Thursday’s program.
“I ask and encourage all the leaders in the community to attend,” Landry said. “We want church leaders and parents to come and offer their insight.”
Brady Broussard Jr., whose District C includes A.A. Comeaux Park, said he feels the meeting will prove productive.
“This is the chance for people in the community to express their desires for what they want this department to be,” Broussard said.

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