Local recreation sites to get comfort stations

Red Oak Recreation Area off Hwy. 480 in Red River Parish. Photo by Juanice Gray

By Juanice Gray, jgray@natchitochestimes.com

The Red River Waterway Commission (RWCC) approved comfort stations for several recreation sites and proposed expansion projects for the Grand Ecore RV Park at their January meeting. The Commission approved $600,000 for the design and construction of comfort stations (restrooms) at Bishop Point in Caddo Parish, Red Oak in Red River Parish and the Natchitoches Recreation Area on Hampton Road.

Cothren, Graff, Smoak Engineering LLC was approved for the project. The contract covers all phases from preliminary engineering to completion. The job will be let for bid once the design is finished. Once bids are awarded construction can begin.

The Grand Ecore RV Park opened Aug. 1, 2017, and has seen continued growth in occupancy and revenue since opening according the RRWC. Staff evaluated the facility and presented a report of options for future development. The report states the occupancy rate increased from 16% in 2018 to 25% in 2020. The Grand Ecore RV Park was at 51% occupancy for November 2020.

To enhance the park, based on feedback from guests, the report suggests signage and lighting along the roadway to the park.

Other proposals include a 2.5 mile walking and cycling trail with access to bank fishing, a 1.2 mile nature trail, addition of a fishing and recreational lake, a common area with a fire pit and seating area, a spray park and/or pool, a lazy river, cabins or yurts, dog run and sports courts. The commission will take the report into consideration for future development projects at the site.

A 30-acre tract along the access road to Lock & Dam 4 to the Red Oak Recreation Area was advertised for lease. Bids were opened Jan. 5. Minimum bid was $20 per acre and hunting was limited to archery only. Christopher Turner was the lone bidder in the amount of $20 per acre or $3,000 for the 5-year lease.

Minutes from the December 2020 meeting revealed dock repairs for Colfax Recreation Area and Grand Ecore Recreation area were set to begin this month. St. Maurice and Natchitoches Recreation Areas dock repairs are to follow. The January recreation report stated there were 82,000 visitors across the recreation areas in December.

The Red River rose in December and two boat launches were closed temporarily. Events along the Red River are on pace and fishing tournaments are on track according to Marketing Director Eric Gilmore.

Commissioners are, Natchitoches Parish, A. Paul Fleming; Red River Parish, Michael B. Simpson; Avoyelles Parish, Jacques M. Goudeau; Rapides Parish, David L. Crutchfield II; Grant Parish, Randell A. Fletcher; Caddo Parish, Ronald F. Lattier; Bossier Parish, David W. Jones; and at-large commissioners are James F. Maxey of Natchitoches, Charles R. Greer of Natchez, Versa O. Clark of Shreveport and Michael P. Deville of Pineville.