Downsville nature park will be reality soon

by Pat Kenney
Special to The Journal

The community of Downsville, Union Parish, Louisiana is about to be put on the map. The Bryan Wildlife Park is a reality. Many individuals are responsible for this historic "map signing. "None are more worthy than Bill Bryan. Hard work, creative business practices serves as a model for this community. Bill Bryan, of Bryan Sausage Co.,has long held to this amazing vision, his little hometown becoming a welcoming oasis to visitors. In 2007 Mr.Bill donated 34 acres of land on La. 151 for a wildlife park. Now that dream has received further support in government grants and will become a reality.

Bill Bryan has worked to develop plans for the park and its interface with the community. Kevin Sing, a Louisiana Tech professor and director of Community Design Assistance Center is helping to coordinate the work of four lucky Louisiana Tech students who have been conscripted to help design and possibly build a pavilion and rest room for the park. This is an exciting opportunity for area students for hands on experience.

In 2008, Bryan Park was marked for federal funding with help from Rep. Rodney Alexander of Quitman and Sen. David Vitter of Metairie. The two-part soil and water conservation grant from the Department of the Interior will provide $150,000 for the first phase of the project and should provide $300,000 for the next phase.

Mayor Reggie Skains has often said this green park is his "pet" dream and suddenly it seems to be possible. Mayor Skains has worked untiringly for many long years in his efforts to make his little town and our whole community a place that folks would like to visit and settle down in. Mayor Regg has a favorite "pet' animal. He raises mules. What better pet could a country boy have? We joke about a mule plowing contest we will hold in Downsville. We are finally getting noticed and Mr. Skains was given tickets to attend the inauguration of the 44th presidents of the US. He is a proud American and proud to witness history.

With the recent "wake up" of our surprising efforts to save Pilgrim's Pride Chicken Operations in our area, it seems we are learning that everyone working together makes for green pastures and parks in our home of Downsville. Community cooperation instead of complaint has finally won out in this neck of the woods and will put Downsville on the map.