The City of Gretna Parks and Recreation Department offers a diverse set of programming for all ages throughout the City’s park system. “Recreation” prides themselves on the number of free and low-cost activities that the department provides. All residents and visitors are invited and encouraged to frequent the awesome facilities.
The Parks and Recreation Department operates throughout the City with two primary recreation facilities, Mel Ott Park located at 2301 Belle Chasse Highway and Gretna City Park at 1 Copernicus St.
The Department is headquartered at Mel Ott Park in the state-of-the- art Mel Ott Park Recreation Center, a multi-purpose 20,000 square foot building. Amie Hebert is director and her longtime assistants, Nevelyn Goff, Kathy Hebert and Dodie Rackly are around to keep things running efficiently.
Adults can participate in two main activities at the Mel Ott Rec Center during this trying pandemic time when many options of sports and entertainment are totally shut down.
Pickle Ball for seniors is offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays starting at 9:00 a.m. and usually runs until lunchtime. There is an afternoon session on Mondays from 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Pickle Ball sessions are free for the first time and cost $1 per session thereafter. A coupon book is available for $10 that covers 10 sessions that can be purchased by credit card, debit card or by check. Cash is not accepted.
Another available adult activity is Yoga that is offered on Monday and Thursday evenings beginning at 5:45 p.m. Classes are about an hour and cost $8 each. You can purchase a card with five classes for $40. Use how you choose – the card will not expire. Purchase by credit card, debit card or check since cash is not accepted.
During normal times, sans Covid-19 restrictions, the park has many opportunities for rentals of its gazebos, meeting rooms and other facilities. Fortunately, sports for children has been able to go on with basketball being the latest program with a season in progress at this time. In fact, good news! Jefferson Parish has announced that the annual All Star program for basketball will be enjoyed again this year.
Children’s sports about to start up again are Soccer and Track with registration expected to open in the second week of January. Soccer will be open for 4 year-olds and up and Track will be offered for 6 year-olds and up.
At a time when so much is needed by so many in the community, Gretna Recreation got a big boost and is very grateful for the generosity of Dick’s Sporting Goods. Dick’s donated sports bags that held sports equipment and gift items for all team members of various sports, as well as enough bags for other Gretna children. Gretna is forever grateful, Dick’s!!
All Covid-19 restrictions and regulations are being followed at the recreation center. Temperatures are taken upon entrance and social distancing is practiced with limited amounts of spectators allowed. After each game, the gym is emptied and sanitized to start a new game.
The concession stand is not open at this time.
The Mel Ott Recreation Center, a $5,500,000 facility was dedicated in March of 2013. The impressive building contains a large gymnasium holding a regulation size basketball court with retractable basketball goals and retractable metal bleachers on either side.
The foyer connects the gymnasium to a large room that is available to rent for various events. This rental site has approximately 4,000 square feet of space with accordion-style upholstered floor-to-ceiling dividers, so the room can be split into 2 or 3 rooms or left as one very large space.
The facility has large rooms which can be used for meetings or activities of all sorts. The concession stand has a full warming kitchen for catering events. All of these amenities are under one roof in a climate-controlled environment.
The Parks and Recreation Department also operates four larger neighborhood parks that include: Heritage Park, 1035 Huey P. Long Ave.; J.B. Spencer Park, 700 Governor Hall; McDonoghville Park, 600 Weidman St.; and Bellevue Park, 640 Gretna Blvd.
Additionally, the Department also oversees numerous neighborhood tot-lots, basketball courts and other park spaces that include 23rd St. Tot Lot, 2300 Huey P. Long Ave.; Richard St. Park, 721 Richard St.; Porter St. Basketball Courts; Virgil St. Playground, 1301 Virgil St.; Solon St. Tot Lot; Washington St. Dog Park, 1040 Washington St.; and
Hamilton Park, 215 Hamilton St.
For more information about the various locations or programs, call the 504.363.1597.
Have a story you’d like to share? Contact me here.