Tech’s CDAC releases concept for Miller Quarters Park

By Paige Nash

Louisiana Tech University’s Community Design Activism Center’s (CDAC) concept for Miller Quarters Park has been released and much discussion has followed.  

A couple of weeks ago the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission (WPCVC) met virtually with a few of the students responsible for developing this concept along with CDAC director Kevin Singh. 

At last month’s WPCVC meeting, the board thoroughly considered each suggested feature of the park, from the restrooms to low and high intensity walking or bmx paths, a designed kids play areas which included an adventure tower, food truck area, a dog park featuring fenced areas for both small and large breed pups and a grand amphitheater that would be located on the southern end of the park.  

There is no denying the students at Tech did their homework. These are all very detailed and extravagant ideas, but the question remains, which features will come to fruition? Which ones are higher and lower on the to-do list? 

In regard to the food truck area, Commissioner Tracy Campbell questioned whether or not there would be a need to close Gleason Street again. This is something the WPCVC had to do when they hosted the Scottish Tartan Festival in April. Although it was not closed completely since the Minden Police Department is located along that street. They had to arrange it in a way that would guarantee the MPD would be able to enter and leave the premises if need be.   

Campbell asked, “So moving forward would there not be an issue with doing the same thing when festivals are held there?” The answer was unclear and would require continued cooperation from the city. 

The WPCVC has already spent dollars to designate a location within the park for food trucks to park and have water and electricity.  

Commissioner Ty Pendergrass said despite the already established location he prefers having the food trucks along Gleason Street. He said, “I sorta like this out on Gleason Street. That street is wide. It would be a lot easier for food trucks to pull up in there and do their thing. I just think that could be a handy place for it to be.” 

When it comes to the kids’ play area WPCVC Director Serena Gray believes the aesthetics of the suggested equipment is very unique and is far from the standard playground equipment you may find at other parks. She said, “I think this will blend very well with the downtown area and the park to keep it nature oriented. I think it matches our brand very well.” 

Commissioner Campbell agreed. He said, “This is something different. I think it is going to be an eye catcher. I am more excited about this park and the dog park. I started out not liking the dog park and now I think the concept is great personally.” 

Regarding the dog park, this would be located on the eastern side of the park where the designated area for the food trucks currently sits. “There would be water stations. You would be able to view the pavilion and they would connect to the trails, as well,” said Gray. “I think it is a great use of the space and people love their dogs. If you go to any big festival that brings in a lot of people, people bring their dogs. I can visualize that space for the Tartan Festival because they do a dog show.” 

Next on the list, the amphitheater. Members of the WPCVC have previously mentioned having this mimic the set up alongside the riverbank in Natchitoches. “It would be a great space to host music, speakers or whatever else you want to get out there,” said Gray.  

The zipline tower would be the first of its kind in the Minden area but would require hiring a worker to oversee visitors filling out the appropriate paperwork, as well as helping participants on and off the zipline. “We have been told it is very secure and safe. It is not something people would be able to access on their own,” said Gray. “Not only would it be fun, the structure itself is so beautiful.” Upon the suggestion made by Commissioner Sara McDaniel, they are considering charging a small fee to help cover the cost of hiring the worker and liability insurance if this feature is added to the park.  

Next steps will include holding a round table discussion to decide which features they would like to see become a reality at Miller Quarters Park followed by getting bids from various sources. 

“I think we are going to have to prioritize, but first of all we need to decide if we want all these things over time. What are the nonnegotiables? We have to have these things and just start with that,” said Commissioner Ty Pendergrass. “This was a concept to give us something to start forward with and see what stuff is going to cost and how realistic it is.” 

Commissioner Campbell had the idea of giving local residents and business owners an opportunity to sponsor certain aspects of the park at certain levels. He said, “They could get their name on a plaque or the amphitheater or whatever. I think you are going to have a lot of people embrace that and rally behind that. That’s going to be a big help moneywise.” 

Commissioner McDaniel previously attended a Brunch Club at the parTEA Room located downtown. This club chooses an organization to donate money to every quarter. The last donation went to the Minden Foundation with plans to make their next contribution to Miller Quarters Park in October.