OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – New plans are in place in Opelousas to revitalize city parks and Donald Gardner Stadium.

St. Landry Economic Development partnered with the Opelousas Downtown Development District and the city to create a master for a total renovation of the south city park. “This is a way of having something that they can be proud of in our community and bring people into our community as well,” says Lena Charles with the Opelousas Downtown Development District.

Plans include the addition of new basketball courts, volleyball courts, play areas, and a complete refurbishment of Donald Gardner football stadium. Due to the size of the project, the park will be divided into phases; phase 1 being the stadium and parking spots. “The field that it is now will be converted to artificial turf and it will also be enlarged. It will have a state certified track and field track surrounding it that does not exist now. New bleachers. Refurbishment of the locker rooms the restrooms. The stadium itself will be a complete refurbishment,” says Bill Rodier with St. Landry Economic Development.

By making these additions to the park, Rodier says it not only created an environment residents can be proud of but also create new business opportunity for the city. “We’ve never had this type of a track and field facility here before so being able to host regional track and field events and bring people into the area is economic stimulus coming into the area,” says Rodier.

With all of the additions coming to the South City Park, questions are already coming about the North City Park as well. Charles says their master plan incorporates both parks, it will just take time as the projects are worked on one phase at a time. “I don’t want to confuse the folks by mentioning the other things and them saying ‘Why didn’t you do this first?’ or ‘Why you didn’t do this?’ it’s a hard decision because where do you start? Where you start is where is being used the most,” says Charles.

The renovations for both the parks and the stadium are expected to take place following football season.