Ahoy mateys in the Madisonville area

Madisonville residents

The next generations of Madisonville residents will get a chance to ride on their version of the Claribel tugboat.

After several months of construction, Madisonville Park has been given a makeover, with a new playground featuring a splashpad in which children can cool off and a tugboat over which they can climb, captain and imagine adventures. The tug, christened the "Claribel," was named for one of the legendary old crafts once used at the nearby Jahncke Shipyard.

The project was made possible by a $350,000 grant from Louisiana State Parks and Recreational Trails that was matched by the town of Madisonville.

The official unveiling was Friday, March 1, and was attended by several town officials and members of the the public.

“It went exceptionally well,” Madisonville Mayor Jean Pelloat said of the unveiling. “It was so satisfying to see the kids and the amount of people who came … to know how many kids and families will benefit from what we have done.”

Pelloat said plans for upgrading Madisonville Park had been in the works for eight years, but it took time for the grant and paperwork to be finalized. The space was once a baseball field, and now it's multifunctional.

“We took an old plan that was sitting around, and we developed it, and it has a new life now as a town park and playground,” Pelloat said.

There are further plans to resurface the two tennis courts, add shade to the splash pad and enhance lighting around the 1/4-mile walking path. Madisonville Park sits just north of Jahncke Street and covers 3.45 acres. It can be reserved for birthday parties and events. Maritime Museum Louisiana will use the grounds for its music festival in April.

Work was done by Francise Horticultural Services of Baton Rouge, and Pelloat believes it will stand the test of time.

“I thought it was important when we were doing the things to the park, but I had no idea how the response would be,” he said. “Since it opened, our residents have been so happy with the new splash pad and playground equipment. I heard we had over 1,000 positive comments on one site.”


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