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Mayor’s Message: Park projects delayed; police get drone help

Happy August, everyone, as we continue on with this sweltering, but enjoyable, summer!

I’m going to start with a quick update on our Riverfront Park project at Canal Street Park. Given many unforeseen infrastructure repairs needed recently and a short-handed public works staff, our timetable for park construction has been temporarily pushed back but certainly not eliminated.

We still have our plans to get the Monarch butterfly gardens planted as soon as possible, especially since these colorful insects received an endangered species designation. These garden areas, funded by grants, provide the necessary vegetation for the butterflies to breed, then feed after transforming. They also provide beautiful plants for the canal pathway.

We already have such a garden in our Uptown Park, thanks to the work of the Rev. Jerry Mraz. When you have the opportunity to visit the park, walk to the back right corner and see these plants at work, providing a way station for the butterflies to proliferate.

I’m excited to announce another additional asset to our police force - drones. From the recent ability to cover more ground with our bike patrol, we’ll now have ability to cover the airspace with our drone patrol.

I just started discussing this with Chief Kadingo, at which time the conversation immediately took off. With our first drone recently donated, we’re now able to give our officers additional aerial perspective when they need to patrol a larger area or search for a missing person.

This inexpensive eye-in-the-sky equipment will help save time, enhance search techniques and reduce the need for additional manpower, among the many other benefits and advantages to having this tool. Also, be assured these drones are never to be weaponized or used as a spying tool, as some have feared.

Last month, I highlighted the completion of our first pickleball court in Canal Street Park. Happily, local fans have come forward offering assistance to rookie players, starting a Facebook page to gather new players and providing a comfortable opening for those looking to try out the game. It’s nothing short of a nice, enthusiastic community effort, adding to our quality of life here in town.

Our recreation center manager, Jason Kremus, is also available for questions and suggestions to improve your understanding and accessibility to the game. Hopefully, we’ll require that second pickleball court sooner rather than later.

For now, I hope you continue to enjoy this summer and all the recreational rewards we have here in town, as well as any vacation time still out there.

Have fun, folks!

Press file photo Tony Pristash