St. Helena Parish residents take advantage of revamped park

Johnny Morgan  |  4/4/2018 2:24:56 PM

(04/04/18) GREENSBURG, La. Residents of St. Helena Parish are enjoying new amenities at a local park thanks to Healthy Communities, an initiative led by the LSU AgCenter.

Charlie Overton Park, just west of Greensburg, was rededicated on March 31 with fun, games, a petting zoo and informational exhibits. One group of visitors played basketball as others met Hershey, a goat who has a chocolate-colored coat.

Bianca Plant, the AgCenter area nutrition agent in St. Helena Parish, used a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make improvements at the parish-owned park.

“We have been able to upgrade this park with new bleachers and picnic tables,” she said. “We have also started a farmers market, and we are developing a community garden.”

This is the second year of the $1.45 million grant, which funds programs in St. Helena, Madison, West Feliciana and Tensas parishes that encourage people to make healthier choices. Each parish has an obesity rate of more than 40 percent.

“Events like this and others that we have planned are designed to get our people moving more and to help improve their health,” Plant said.

The next Healthy Communities event in St. Helena Parish is a movie night scheduled for April 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Courthouse Square in Greensburg.

On May 19, the program will promote healthy meals at its second annual Taste of St. Helena greens cook-off. People who enter the contest will cook a variety of green vegetables, from turnips and mustard greens to spinach and broccoli, Plant said.

“We know that Louisiana is known for cook-offs for jambalaya and gumbo, but we wanted to feature something that is healthier,” she said.

Dawn Mellion-Patin was among those attending the park rededication event. She is the vice chancellor for extension and outreach at the Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, which also is part of the Healthy Communities project.

“We are happy to be a part of such a wonderful event,” Mellion-Patin said. “This is a good opportunity for everyone to have a good time and gain some useful information in the process.”

Frankie Poland, regional coordinator for the Southern University Communities of Color Network, was at the event to provide information to help people quit smoking. She and her staff work to increase awareness of smoking cessation services in the local community.

“We provide information about the dangers of smoking, secondhand smoke and we let people know where they can get free help to quit smoking,” Poland said. “This includes free medicines, free counseling and free coaching.”

JWM_6502.JPG thumbnail

LSU AgCenter area nutrition agent Bianca Plant, right, helps Hershey the goat make friends at the rededication of Charlie Overton Park near Greensburg on March 31. The event was part of the Healthy Communities project, which is funded by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

JWM_6456.JPG thumbnail

Young men compete in the 3-on-3 basketball tournament at the rededication of Charlie Overton Park near Greensburg on March 31. The event was part of the Healthy Communities project, which is funded by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

JWM_6472.JPG thumbnail

Even the Easter Bunny was all smiles at the rededication of Charlie Overton Park near Greensburg on March 31. The event was part of the Healthy Communities project, which is funded by a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant. Photo by Johnny Morgan/LSU AgCenter

Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture

Top