New Park to make a ‘Splash’ on the East Side of Houma

Joy will Sprout at Reopening of Community Garden this Weekend
April 13, 2021
NWS: Severe Thunderstorm Advisory for Terrebonne and Lafourche
April 13, 2021
Joy will Sprout at Reopening of Community Garden this Weekend
April 13, 2021
NWS: Severe Thunderstorm Advisory for Terrebonne and Lafourche
April 13, 2021

The Melvin Johnson Jr. Splash Park will soon make a ‘splash’ before the Summer heat hangs on the air like moss on a Live Oak. The grand opening/ribbon cutting is estimated to be at the end of April or in the month of May.


“I think it’s going to be great! I’m excited! I can’t wait till it actually opens and kids can enjoy themselves,” Navy said with joy.


John Navy has been anxiously awaiting the official opening of the splash park. He is the Councilman for District 1 of Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government and the Guidance Counselor at Ellender Memorial High School. Navy is also a community patriot, instilling endeavored ideas to improve and expand the Air Base Park.


“I had some money from a project, and I asked Parish President Gordon Dove if I could do something on the Air Base. It wouldn’t be for just my district, but for the Parish of Terrebonne where people could come out to a community park and enjoy something like a splash park. So, he gave me the green light on that,” Navy explained.


The Melvin Johnson Jr. Splash Park was funded by the Terrebonne Parish Government. Over a year ago, allowed expenditures created a stilled oasis that is located at the Air Base. The splash park is planted in Recreation District 11 and its water will sprinkle on Terrebonne Parish property.


“We planned this probably a few years ago and the reason why we called it Melvin Johnson Jr. is because of the influence the young man had as a young athlete at South Terrebonne. He did many things as a young man to put South Louisiana on the map with sports. We know a lot of kids will probably come to the park to play sports and things like that. So, we wanted to do something positive after the young man that did positive things in the community,” Mr. Navy said.


Melvin Johnson Jr. was a five-star athlete who attended South Terrebonne. His high school resume listed many qualifications such as an ‘All-State Running Back’ and a ‘Dominating Track Runner’. He ran with Secretariat-like speed, setting track records. Johnson was also a forceful football player, blocking and running his way to sign free-agent deals with the Philadelphia Eagles (1978) and the Kansas City Chiefs (1979). Before the 1980 season with the Chiefs, Johnson had surgery to reconstruct a bone in his wrist that was broken during high school. While under anesthesia he went into a coma. Sadly, a few days later Melvin went into cardiac arrest.


“That’s why we named the splash park after him. We wanted to inspire the kids and let the kids know, ‘You live your dreams and if you work hard, anything is achievable if you accomplish it,’” John stated.


The water spigot has been closed tightly due to Covid-19 restrictions. However, the sound of rushing water and children’s laughter will be heard in the near future.


“We are doing some final adjustments to it. It’s been sitting up for such a long time without even running because of Covid. We’re looking at a park that’s been probably completed over a year ago,” Navy said.


“We’re making sure everything is operable and some things are set up. We want to make sure everything is running in a good manner. We’re also making sure everything is suitable and clean enough for the public. We want to do some fine-tuning to it since it’s been setting up for over a year without any operation. Then, we’re going to have the grand opening/ ribbon cutting with the park,” he added.


Navy is assured that the splash park will bring families together under the glistening sky. Dads and Moms will bond with their children as they run amidst cool misty water.


“I think it’s going to be great for the community and I think it’s going to be great for East Houma. We don’t really have the opportunity to enjoy recreational things in the community. So, this will give people the opportunity where they can be family oriented,” Navy said.


The Air Base Park is inclusive for every parent and child, making the property and splash park easily accessible to enjoy moments that will be imprinted upon hearts.


“It’s an adaptive park. So, a child in a wheelchair can enjoy the park also. It meets the ADA accessibility standards,” Navy explained.


Dirk Guidry, Councilman for District 8, and John Navy allied in the construction of the Melvin Johnson Jr. Splash Park. The councilmen and Parish President Dove have also collaborated over a blueprint of a bathroom facility for the property. Teamwork bubbles daydreams about charming vistas and ventures for the Air Base Park.


“We’re trying to collaborate to do some more things out there that would be great for the community of East Houma that would attract the bayou area people, inner city people, or anyone else,” Navy said.


“Councilman Dirk Guidry, is a big component to the project too. We have always collaborated to see what we could do to kind of bring a different tone to the Eastside of Houma. We have some ideas that we’re putting together that include some upgrades to that park. The Westside has the ‘Field of Dreams’ and we’re trying to make a ‘Field of Dreams’ on the Eastside.” Navy added.


Covid-19 has clouded and rained upon many homes, keeping families enclosed. Navy wants to shine more sunlight upon the Air Base Park, making it sparkle with more joyful aspects. He wants the community to take in the fresh air and delight in new additions, such as the Melvin Johnson Jr. Splash Park.


“The Air Base is historical in so many ways. It’s a community park, not necessarily a neighborhood park. It’s a community park where everybody goes to play soccer, barbecue, have birthday parties…everything. So, we want to make it bigger than what it is now and make it more accessible for families to come out and enjoy, especially after dealing with Covid,” Navy said with hope.


Navy envisions children playing and cheerfully prancing through the sprinklers, collecting childhood memories.


“I can see this splash park impacting thousands of kids,” Navy ended.