Stephensville park getting a batting cage

STEPHENSVILLE, La. -- Construction of a batting cage in Stephensville began today.

It is part of the larger project being undertaken by St. Martin Parish Recreation District 1 to expand parks in Stephensville and Belle River.

The 15-year-old project received public approval for the renewal of a 2.5-mill recreation tax in late 2012. The property tax is estimated to continue collecting $39,300 each year through 2022 to support the project.

Construction by Recreation District 1 consists of a concession stand and bathrooms to enhance the Stephensville site and a meeting room in Belle River. Residents will be able to use the room in order to hold birthday parties, baby showers, distribute commodities and other activities, officials with the district said.

Phase 2 — is ongoing with the construction of the batting cage by Billy’s Carports and Patios in Patterson at a cost of $30,000 —also includes a concession stand under construction at the site that should be finished by the end of the month, according to Charlotte Ratcliff, chairman of St. Martin Parish Recreation District 1.

Phase 3 projects in Stephensville include a tennis court, picnic area with tables, additional parking, fitness stations, benches, playground shade structure and drinking fountain, and horseshoe pit.

In Belle River, the future proposed facility upgrades include a playground, pavilion, horseshoe pit, picnic area, additional parking and a multi-purpose open space. Currently, bricks are being laid for the construction of the meeting room, Ratcliff said.

Phase 2 work in Stephensville is being paid for by the recreation district’s tax dollars as well as an $85,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources and a $150,000 grant from Land and Water Conservation.

Phase 2 construction in Belle River is being paid for with tax dollars and an $80,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources, Ratcliff said.

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