Painted obstacle course provides free play space at Abbeville library

(08/07/20) ABBEVILLE, La. — Abbeville residents can now visit a painted obstacle course at the Vermilion Parish Library.

Mandy Armentor, LSU AgCenter regional coordinator and area nutrition agent, and Anna Barras, LSU AgCenter nutrition educator, saw an opportunity to help keep Vermilion residents active during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Vermilion Parish Library system has been one of our long-standing partners, but we didn’t get to do our normal summer programming this year due to COVID-19,” Armentor said. “We know that people are still looking for ways to be active with their kids and figured this would be a great opportunity to offer free and fun physical activity for our community.”

The obstacle course features colorfully painted designs that indicate where visitors should zigzag, hop, spin, jump, balance and march. Armentor and Barras also stenciled a “mirror me” game that allows children to mirror a partner’s dance steps.

“Children in our area already use our parking lot to ride bikes, so we knew there would be kids around to use the play space once it was painted on the sidewalk,” said Sue Trahan, a librarian for the Vermilion Parish Library. “I have heard positive feedback from patrons who have come by to drop off books in our book drop and have seen the obstacle course. One family came back just to let her kids run through it a couple of times besides the times she has come by to drop off books.”

The main library branch is located in a limited-resource neighborhood where most parents both work and the children come to the branch during the day to hang out, Trahan said.

Since the library has been closed to the public for most of the year, staffers jumped at the opportunity to offer the community some sort of outside activity at their branches.

“It’s so important for families to be active together, especially with kids having less access their normal activities that keep them moving,” said Jessica Stroope, AgCenter physical activity specialist. “Keeping active helps improve concentration, reduce anxiety and depression, and improve overall moods.”

The temporary play space can be accessed at the library at 405 E. St Victor St. in Abbeville. Even though the branch building is closed to the public right now, patrons are encouraged to visit the obstacle course for some physical activity while arranging drop off or pick up of library items.

To learn more about this painted play space, contact Armentor at

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Mirror me painted stencil game at the Abbeville Library. Photo by Sue Trahan/Vermilion Parish Library

8/7/2020 7:54:21 PM
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