Nicholls Bayouside Park

Soon, Nicholls State University’s beautiful campus will start to get even better.

The Board of Directors for Friends of Bayou Lafourche (FOBL) announced this week that funding has been secured for the design and construction of the first phase of the much-anticipated Nicholls State University Bayouside redevelopment project.

The idea for the park stems back to Dec. 2017 when a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement was signed with Nicholls to “establish a program for the (bayouside) property with an emphasis on faculity, staff, student and public recreation.”

From there, FOBL acquired funding from Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou to procure a landscape architecture team with Duplantis Design Group. Together, they developed a phased master plan after meetings with Nicholls administration, faculty, staff, student leaders and community stake holders.

Once that plan was developed, FOBL moved quick to try and seek funding sources to pay for the construction of the park.

Last July, the group applied for funding through the Recreational Trails Program — a request which was recently granted with a letter for a $90,000 commitment that will go toward the construction of Phase 1 of the park.

This funding will go toward a multi-use trailhead project that will include earthwork, tree and brush clearing, an asphalt drive with off-street parking, a pavilion, a boardwalk, a floating dock and a new walking trail that will connect to the existing bayouside walking trail already in place.

Construction on the first phase is expected to begin sometime in late 2019.

In a news release issued by FOBL, the group thanked Nicholls State University, Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou, the Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District and the City of Thibodaux for their roles in helping to move the project forward and off the ground.

FOBL said they also are continuing to be aggressive in seeking additional dollars to complete the construction as designed, though they say that most of the necessary funds for Phase 1 are now in place.

Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune said this project will be a huge step in helping the university preserve our Cajun Culture on campus, while also making the campus feel more like home to students, faculty, staff and community members.

“Bayou Lafourche has an iconic place in Nicholls State University history,” Dr. Clune said. “Students compete in pirogue races in the bayou, take graduation photos on the bayouside and participate in the cleanup efforts every year. We are eager for the first phase of this project to begin and are excited to continue working with the Friends of Bayou Lafourche.”

Ryan M. Perque, an Executive Director for Friends of Bayou Lafourche, said the organization is committed to starting this project, but also seeing it to completion, calling it something that the entire community will be able to enjoy and be proud of.

“We pride ourselves in being a results-driven organization,” Perque said. “We are excited to move this project one big step closer to construction. FOBL is dedicated to the continued enhancements of bayouside properties along Bayou Lafourche. … Developing strategic partnerships have been and will continue to be an integral part of improving the Nicholls batture property into a facility like no other in our region. … The excitement and enthusiasm around this project has been extremely encouraging. This project is one of a kind in our region and will be a great asset for Bayou Lafourche and Nicholls.” •

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Casey Gisclair is the Sports Editor at Rushing Media. A native of Cut Off and graduate of Louisiana State University, Casey is a lifelong sports fan who joined the Houma Times team in Dec. 2009 upon college graduation.

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